Google has purchased Titan Aerospace–the same solar-powered drone company
Facebook was reportedly in talks to buy
–for an undisclosed amount.
Project Loon was launched in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand and an ongoing series of research flights are being conducted in California's Central Valley.
Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based startup, has developed an autonomous solar-powered aircraft designed to stay aloft at 65,000 feet (far above air traffic) for up to five years. The aircraft, called the Solara, was unveiled last year at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the world's largest trade show for unmanned planes, vehicles and ships.
The company markets its aircraft as a cheaper, easier-to-use alternative to launching space satellites. The drones can be used for Earth imaging, communications and even weather monitoring. Initial commercial operations for its line of Solara aircrafts are expected in 2015, according to information once posted on the company's website. Titan's website no longer has any of this information, and instead just displays basic information about Google's purchase.
At Titan Aerospace, we’re passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people’s lives. It’s still early days for the technology we’re developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it’s providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com