Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Google's Titan drone purchase about more than Internet access

Titan's team will work both with Project Loon and the Google Maps teams

Article comments

Google has confirmed its acquisition of drone maker Titan Aerospace and hinted that the technology could be used for a lot more than providing Internet access to remote parts of the world.

Titan makes unmanned, solar-powered aircraft that can fly at 65,000 feet and act as "atmospheric satellites," beaming Internet access to parts of the world that are underserved today by wired and cellular networks.

That fits in with Google's Project Loon, which is experimenting with high-altitude balloons as another way it can bring Internet access to remote areas.

But that's not all Google has in mind. "It's still early days," a spokesman said via email Monday, but along with Internet access Titan's drones could help in other areas, including disaster relief and combating environmental damage like deforestation.

He didn't go into details, but it's not hard to imagine how a fleet of camera-equipped drones could help build a more accurate picture of the destruction of rain forests, or feed information to rescuers on the ground after events like mudslides and earthquakes. They could also, potentially, greatly enhance Google Maps.

Google has already involved itself extensively with crisis relief efforts, including after last year's Oklahoma tornadoes and the flooding in Uttrakhand, in Northern India. So far, the efforts have largely involved helping people to locate and communicate with each other, and building maps to aid relief and recovery efforts.

Using unmanned aircraft to provide Internet access isn't a new concept -- the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been working on a similar technology since at least 2010.

And Facebook and Amazon are also looking at drones as a way to expand their businesses and push into new areas. Amazon has discussed using drones for package delivery, while Facebook is exploring them for Internet access.

Facebook was reportedly interested in acquiring Titan before Google, but the talks apparently broke down. Instead, the company brought on team members from Ascenta, another drone maker.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook expects to have a working version of its own drone in the near future. And Titan is expected to make its drones commercially available next year.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *