Drones to extend Internet to remote areas

April 16, 2014

Artist rendition of Titan Solera 50 drone (credit: Titan Aerospace)

Two companies have just extended the reach of the  Internet.

Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a developer of jet-sized drones intended to fly nonstop for years,the New Mexico company has announced. Titan says it could help people by “providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation.”

The Wall Street Journal quotes Google as saying the technology could also be used to collect images.

Facebook has also agreed to buy the U.K.-based Ascenta, which notes that it is “joining the team inside Facebook, which is focused on bringing Internet connectivity to the world’s developing countries through new technologies like high altitude long endurance vehicles.”

The WSJ says Titan would work closely with its Project Loon, “which is building large, high-altitude balloons that send Internet signals to areas of the world that are currently not online,” according to a Google statement. “Titan also may work with Makani, another early-stage Google project that is developing an airborne wind turbine that it hopes will generate electricity efficiently.”

Meanwhile, a fleet of aging RQ-7 Shadow surveillance drones are being turned into wi-fi hotspots for remote conflict zones, able to transfer one gigabyte per second of data to U.S. troops for remote access to mission data, reports Sky News.