Google Buys Titan Aerospace: Battle of Drones Looms

A ‘battle’ of drones seemingly looms big between two tech giants: Google and Facebook, with Google’s very recent acquisition of Titan Aeorospace, makers of near-orbital, solar-powered drones. This development comes at the heels of Facebook’s acquisition, in late March, of Ascenta, a U.K. -based start-up solar-powered drone maker, touted as Titan’s competitor, and the same company Facebook had held talks with for a possible acquisition deal, earlier on.

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. See

To recall Zuckerberg’s comments last month regarding its acquisition of Ascenta that Facebook will be able to “precisely control the location of these aircraft, unlike balloons,” Zuckerberg wrote in a paper on the topic. And drones, he said elsewhere, “have more endurance than balloons.” Facebook saw its Connectivity Lab project would have an edge over Google’s Project Loon which will use ballons as its main communication vehicle, as flying at 65,000 feet and powered by solar panels, drones can broadcast a powerful communications signal that covers an area the size of a city with a medium population density. See

However, it may seem Google must have surprised Facebook, by likewise adding drones to its arsenal of technologies in its plan of bringing the internet to more users.

But for Google, this may be about more than just internet, as the drones may also be useful in Google’s mapping services. If Google can operate its own atmospheric drones, it will be the equivalent to them operating their own satellites, which means more rapid updates to Google Maps and Google Earth with near real-time information such as weather updates. Read more here

“Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world, ” Google said in a statement Monday. “It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” the USA Today reports. See

The drone makers are on the leading edge of a promising but largely unproven technology to beam Internet access to parts of the world not served by telephone wires or cellphone towers, the Wall Street Journal reports.The biggest opportunity may be in the developing world, where Google and Facebook are battling to be the first point of contact. See

Indeed, as the drone industry slowly emerges, an interesting battle of drones looms up in the skies, for the benefit of serving more and more people around the world.

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