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Companies are hyped up lately when it comes to purchasing start-ups: Facebook purchased Oculus and WhatsApp, Alibab...
Companies are hyped up lately when it comes to purchasing start-ups: Facebook purchased Oculus and WhatsApp, Alibaba has invested in Tango, and now, Google has announced its purchase of the drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace, which Facebook was interested in acquiring earlier this year. The New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace creates drones that can fly at high altitudes, are powered by the sun, and are able to hover in the air for years on end without having to land or refuel.
When the $60 million intended purchase fell apart, Facebook ended up buying the rival UK-based aerospace company, Ascenta, for $20 million. Google hasn't disclosed the pricing details on its purchase yet.
Google intends to use these solar-powered drones in a combination with its Project Loon, the focus of which is to produce balloons that will fly at high altitudes and send Internet to areas that are not currently connected. Google will also use Titan's drones to take high-resolution images of Earth for its Google Maps unit, enhancing its real-time depiction of the world.
Facebook's plans for the drones were similar – the purchase of the drone manufacturer was intended to help the Internet.org initiative, which aimed to bring Internet to the entire world.
One of the reasons why Google, or Facebook, would opt for drones, is the solar-powered aspect of the vehicles, as fossil fuels are expensive. Also, as balloons are light, they can easily be thrown off course by severe weather conditions. According to Google, the team would focus on a leading design for a light flying vehicle, and algorithms that would predict wind and flight planning.
Titan's drones boast batteries that charge by solar panels, mounted on their wings, and one gigabit per second speed of data delivering.
While the idea of flying drones doesn't seem far-fetched, however, the reality is still a few years away...