TIME technology

Google Snaps Up Solar Drone Maker

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Titan Aerospace's Solara 50 drone Titan Aerospace—AP

Company hopes Titan Aerospace drones, which are designed to run for years without ever landing, will be able to act as atmospheric satellites taking photos of the earth or expanding Internet access

Google has agreed to buy the startup manufacturer of high-altitude solar-powered drones Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount of money, the tech giant announced Monday. Facebook had earlier expressed interest in purchasing Titan but instead announced it would buy another solar-drone maker, Ascenta, for $20 million. Drones manufactured by the New Mexico-based company are designed to run for years without touching the ground. Tech firms hope such a drone might serve as a sort of atmospheric satellite, taking images of the earth, for example, or supporting data transfer. “Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “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. It’s why we’re so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.”

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