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April 14, 2014

Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.

The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Google is looking for new ways to provide online services to users around the world through Project Loon, which it unveiled last year to help connect people in rural or remote areas to the Internet using balloons and other machinery. The drones also can provide high-resolution images of the earth, navigation and mapping services and atmospheric-based monitoring systems.

"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," Tim Drinan, a spokesman for Google, said in a statement. "It's why we're so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family."

With Titan, Google is joining other Web companies that have started experimenting with the flying machines. Last month, Facebook Inc. said it acquired Ascenta, a British-based aerospace company that also works with drones, as part of an effort to deliver the Web to underserved areas. In December, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said the world's largest online retailer is working with octocopters to deliver goods over a 10-mile radius from a company fulfillment center, with the aim of using the machines in four to five years.

Google has been investing in numerous projects outside its core Internet search business to extend its reach. The company has spent on products like connected Google Glass eyewear and driverless cars. Last year, Google acquired Boston Dynamics, which makes robots for the U.S. Defense Department.

 

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