Alphabet shutters Google X's Titan drone program

Alphabet is turning its focus to cheaper options -- like Google X's Project Loon.

titan aerospace drone.jpg
(Image: File photo)

Alphabet has shuttered the solar drone division formed by its Titan Aerospace acquisition in 2014, a Google X spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

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Employees have been dispersed into other divisions at X, including Loon and Project Wing.

9to5Google first reported the move, and it comes two days after Bloomberg reported Alphabet plans to sell the Google Maps solar-imaging division formed under its acquisition of Skybox. It signals a shift at Alphabet to cut down on costly projects.

When Google acquired Titan Aerospace in 2014, it was hoping the solar-powered drones could bring internet access to "millions of people" and help aid in disaster relief. It was folded into the Google "X" division in 2015 among the broader Alphabet reorganization.

"The team from Titan was brought into X in late 2015. We ended our exploration of high altitude UAVs for internet access shortly after. By comparison, at this stage the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world," a Google X spokesperson said in a statement to ZDNet.

"Many people from the Titan team are now using their expertise as part of other high flying projects at X, including Loon and Project Wing," the spokesperson continued.

Project Loon is Google X's project of internet-beaming balloons that it hopes will bring affordable internet to rural areas.

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