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Google buys solar-powered drone maker in bid to boost Net access

AFP-JIJI

Google on Monday announced that it was acquiring Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that could be used to boost Internet access to remote areas.

“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,” a Google spokesman said in an email.

“It’s why we’re so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.”

Google did not release the financial terms of the transaction.

Titan’s drones are able to run for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (19,800 meters). They can perform functions similar to geostationary satellites, but are less costly.

Google, meanwhile, is developing Project Loon, which uses large balloons for transmitting Internet signals to regions that are not now connected.

Facebook, another tech titan interested in spreading the Internet to new territory, was reportedly interested in acquiring Titan.

But Facebook instead announced in late March that it was acquiring Ascenta, a British firm specializing in unmanned solar-powered vehicles.