April 15 - Tech giant Google Inc. has acquired solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace as part of its strategy to deliver wireless Internet access to remote parts of the world. Titan is developing a variety of solar-powered ''atmospheric satellites,'' which are designed to stay aloft indefinitely, providing aerial and telecommunications services at 1/100th the cost of current satellite platforms. Ben Gruber has more.
Titan Aerospace is developing what it calls atmospheric satellites, solar powered-drones capable of delivering wireless Internet to the most remote regions on Earth. Google says it's one of the reasons it bought the company. The Solara model, with a wingspan of about 160 feet can fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet and can remain aloft for up to five years. In an interview with Reuters last year, Titan's chief technical officer Maximus Yaney said that this type of technology will revolutionise the telecoms business, offering wireless communication at a fraction of the cost of conventional satellite platforms. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER OF TITAN AEROSPACE, MAXIMUS YANEY, SAYING: "What we're focusing on from a capability perspective is being able to provide these kinds of services as an alternate or adding to satellite platform capabilities, so, telco sectors, cell tower in the sky scenario where you can put a 4G repeater that this will be able to replace literally 100 cell towers. You have a 260 mile horizon, from 65,000 feet." Neither Google nor Titan Aerospace have disclosed how much the tech giant paid for the New Mexico start up, but for Google, Titan could become an invaluable platform in the sky for future internet expansion.