Alphabet has killed off its solar-powered drone project
Google parent company Alphabet has revealed its solar-powered, internet signal-carrying drone project, Titan, has been closed.
The project was created after Google bought Titan Aerospace in 2014 and planned to use high altitude drones to beam internet signal to remote parts of the world. Titan was seen as a compliment to Google’s other remote internet access project – Project Loon – which uses weather balloons and remains open.
Now a statement from the tech giant’s X division in which it was based has revealed Titan has been shut down – apparently as far back as early 2016.
“Titan was brought into X in late 2015. We ended our exploration of high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles for internet access shortly after,” the statement said, seemingly confirming reports from Wednesday that suggested Google closed Titan in early 2016.
“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.”
There had been reports that Titan was struggling with technical difficulties as well as financial problems.
Using drones as a means of carrying and distributing internet connectivity is not an idea unique to Google. Facebook, which at one point allegedly rivalled Google to buy Titan Aerospace, has its own Aquila drone project that also focuses on using solar power to keep high altitude crafts in the air for months at a time.
However that project has also encountered issues after a test flight in June last year ended in a crash and an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board in the US.
Meanwhile Google also has its Project Wing initiative currently in the testing phase, which is experimenting with drones as a measure to carry and deliver items from consumer goods to medical supplies.