Google buys Titan Aerospace (solar powered, high-altitude drones)

From TechCrunch:

Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, the drone startup that makes high-flying robots which was previously scoped by Facebook as a potential acquisition target (as first reported by TechCrunch), the WSJ reports. The details of the purchase weren’t disclosed, but the deal comes after Facebook disclosed its own purchase of a Titan Aerospace competitor in U.K.-based Ascenta for its globe-spanning Internet plans.

Both Ascenta and Titan Aerospace are in the business of high altitude drones, which cruise nearer the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and provide tech that could be integral to blanketing the globe in cheap, omnipresent Internet connectivity to help bring remote areas online. According to the WSJ, Google will be using Titan Aerospace’s expertise and tech to contribute to Project Loon, the balloon-based remote Internet delivery project it’s currently working on along these lines.

That’s not all the Titan drones can help Google with, however. The company’s robots also take high-quality images in real-time that could help with Maps initiatives, as well as contribute to things like “disaster relief” and addressing “deforestation,” a Google spokesperson tells WSJ. The main goal, however, is likely spreading the potential reach of Google and its network, which is Facebook’s aim, too. When you saturate your market and you’re among the world’s most wealthy companies, you don’t got into maintenance mode; you build new ones.

As for why an exit to Google looked appealing to a company like Titan, Sarah Perez outlines how Titan had sparked early interest from VCs thanks to its massive drones, which were capable of flying at a reported altitude of 65,000 feet for up to three years, but how there was also a lot of risk involved that would’ve made finding sustained investment while remaining independent difficult.

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Comment by Adam Erickson on April 14, 2014 at 12:42pm

Very exciting news indeed!

Comment by John Moore on April 14, 2014 at 1:03pm

Google is cooking up something big.

Comment by Jack Crossfire on April 14, 2014 at 5:00pm

Just practicing buyouts before the big one.

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on April 14, 2014 at 7:20pm

Is Google going to buy out the FAA, Jack?

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