Picture of the Day: Titan Aerospace solar powered drones

Why are we featuring this futuristic system, a solar powered drone that can fly nonstop for years?

Titan Aerospace solar drone

Titan Aerospace solar drone

Because Google has beaten off interest from Facebook to buy Titan Aerospace, the company behind the spectacular drone technology. The very high end of gadgetry!

Following its balloon-based Internet connectivity and driverless cars, it is another Google venture into high-tech automated hardware. In December 2013 Google also bought robotics specialists Boston Dynamics, a familiar presence on Gadget Master – see BigDog robot angry. BigDog throw bricks, for example.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Google didn’t disclose the purchase price for New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace, which is developing jet-sized drones that are intended to fly nonstop for years. Google said the technology could be used to collect images and offer online access to remote areas.

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. However, industry observers say there are still technical challenges to overcome. Even Amazon.com Inc., which is developing less sophisticated aerial vehicles for short-hop deliveries, says its drones remain four or five years in the future before regular use.

For its part, the Titan Aerospace website carries this message:

We’re thrilled to announce that Titan Aerospace is joining Google.

At Titan Aerospace, we’re passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people’s lives. It’s still early days for the technology we’re developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it’s providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family.

As for Facebook, it has been busy in this area already – see Facebook is building drones with lasers to bring internet to the world.

What with the Elon Musk-backed SpaceX gaining ever more credibility, and Amazon investigating its own use of drones, the race to the future is on…

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