Google could soon be putting drones to use in getting wireless broadband to underserved populations.
Google Monday announced its acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a high-altitude drone company, which it plans to integrate with its on-going Project Loon initiative, according to the Wall Street Journal. Through Project Loon, Google is deploying large balloons in order to relay wireless signals.
Google did not specify how the Titan Aerospace team will assist Project Loon in its current mission but only that the 20-employee company would be working closely with project. Google did not disclose the purchase price for Titan Aerospace.
Facebook had previously been rumored to be pursuing Titan Aerospace but the social network ended up buying Ascenta, another solar-powered drone company, for $20 million. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is out front of the internet.org initiative, which is pushing to connect the rest of the world, similar to the motivation behind Google’s Project Loon.
Both Project Loon and internet.org could benefit from the use of unlicensed spectrum, making recent FCC moves a possible boon. In March, the Commission pledged to open up 100 MHz of 5 GHz spectrum for unlicensed use.
Google wants Titan Aerospace to assist in collecting aerial images in addition to helping with Project Loon.