Alphabet cuts earlier Titan drone program from X division
- Fariha Khan
- January 13, 2017
Google bought Titan Aerospace and drone program (maker of high altitude, solar-powered drone aircraft) back in 2014.
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
Google noted at the time of acquisition.
Earlier on Titan stated that its drones have the capability of collecting real-time, high-resolution images of the earth and could carry other atmospheric sensors in addition to supporting voice and data services.
Read also: Alphabet to sell Terra Bella satellite division
In 2015, the Titan segment was absorbed into X from the Access and Energy division during the Alphabet re-shuffle. Since then Google has publicized other internal Drone program such as project Black Rock and Project Wing delivery drones in addition to a Tango-based prototype. Android ecosystem partners are manufacturing their own drones though for additional consumer reasons.
During 2015, Titan went through a crash in the Arizona desert that was found to be a fault in the wing in 2016. Later, under the moniker ‘Skybender’ reports appeared from Spaceport America in New Mexico that Google intended to make use of 5G technology to offer wide area internet. However, the team there appeared to be going through serious issues.
Later, components were installed upside down or supplied by Google without the necessary shelves, nuts and bolts. Near the end of the build in October, Mike Bashore, information systems manager at Spaceport America, even emailed to his Google contact, “We want to run out to Home Depot for grounding straps.” These are needed to protect sensitive electronics from static electricity. The nearest Home Depot hardware shop is over 100 miles from the Spaceport.
Now we have got to know that Alphabet has reassured that the drone program was shut down and engineers were informed to look for other employment opportunities in Alphabet/Google in the future. As many as 50 workers were a part of the process.
The Titan Team has been separating to other groups such as the Project Loon effort that is dedicated to allocate internet through high altitude balloons. An X representative extended a statement:
Read also: Google’s Project Loon kept one balloon floating in the air for 98 days!
The team from Titan was brought into X in early 2016. We ended our exploration of high-altitude UAVs for internet access shortly after. By comparison, at this stage the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world. Many people from the Titan team are now using their expertise as part of other high flying projects at X, including Loon and Project Wing.
For “Internet from the sky”, Like drone programs Google seriously invested in SpaceX in 2015 and with Fidelity owned 10% of the Elon Musk-founded Space firm. According to a report Google’s investment would support the increase of SpaceX satellites that could beam affordable Internet across the planet to countless people who are deprived of it.