The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is purchasing Titan Aerospace, makers of high altitude, solar-powered drone aircrafts, and a company that the report notes Facebook was rumored to be in talks with earlier in the year. Google is said to be using the technology for a few of its still early in development projects but also possibly Maps and other consumer facing products:
Google said the Titan team will work closely with Google’s Project Loon, which is building large, high-altitude balloons that send Internet signals to areas of the world that are currently not online. Titan may also work with Makani, another early-stage Google project that is developing an airborne wind turbine that it hopes will generate energy more efficiently.
Titan says its drones will be able to collect real-time, high-resolution images of the earth, carry other atmospheric sensors and support voice and data services. That type of technology could also help other Google businesses, including its Maps division.
There were no financial details disclosed, but Google provided the following statement to the WSJ:
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“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.