It is the fight for the global Internet supply: Google acquired the drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace on Monday – a start up Facebook had shown interest in as well. The technology giants battle to develop their influence in the remote areas of the world.
The New Mexico based start- up Titan Aerospace specialises in developing jet-sized drones that are intended to fly nonstop for years at heights of over 19 kilometres.
The technology will support Google in connecting more people around the world to the Internet via air. Titan is predicted to participate in Google’s project ‘Loon’, which will bring Internet connection to the far corners of the earth by installing antennas on large, high-altitude balloons.
According to Titan the drones can also take real-time images of the earth in high resolution, as well as measurements of the atmosphere and feature data and voice services. These technologies will support other Google businesses, such as Google Maps.
Titan outlined that its drones can deliver data at speeds of up to one gigabit a second, which is considerably faster than the current speeds in most developed countries. The drones are currently in a development stage and will be powered with solar energy.
Facebook started reviewing drone manufactures six months earlier and established an internal group that focuses on developing new ways to provide Internet services to places that are not online.After Facebook had begun talks with Titan, the company was approached by Google, which said it could trump whatever price Facebook was offering. Google declined to comment further on the talks and the price for the acquisition was not disclosed.
It is likely that Google and Facebook want to control as much of the infrastructure themselves – taking it to the skies must seem a gratifying way to leave all earthbound adversaries behind. From a logistic point of view this was a great move as well, as the sky will be a much more cost effective and efficient way to build connectivity than the labour-intensive line construction on earth.
It is still early, however this innovative approach could help to bring Internet access to millions of people, improve communication and help to solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental problems. The access to faster and better Internet will also open up countless new business opportunities, as developing countries will be able to connect to all kinds of online services.
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