Google is only one of the many corporations attempting to conjure up ways of offering low cost Internet to the world. Interestingly, nearly all of the ways involve airborne objects. While some are going with balloons, others are going with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Google started out with balloons but gravitated towards UAVs with its acquisitions of Titan Aerospace in 2014.
However, the company is reportedly moving back to focus its undivided attention to its other projects and is shutting Project Titan down.
When Google acquired Titan Aerospace in 2014, hopes were running high. Titan Aerospace, a company that manufactured special solar drones — that ostensibly could travel up to 20 kilometers high, and could fly continuously up to five years — seemed the perfect fit for many of Google’s projects. The drones were thought to be suitable for airborne, low cost Internet as well as the company’s mapping division.
The division was later shifted to Google parent Alphabet’s X department, that houses some of the company’s most futuristic projects. However, it now appears that things did not turn out as well as it was being hoped they will. 9to5Google reports that Titan has been shut down and the employees associated with the group are being shifted to other projects, including Loon and Wing.
It also cites a X spokeswoman, who said,
The team from Titan was brought into X in early 2016. We ended our exploration of high-altitude UAVs for internet access shortly after. 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.
Well, Titan seems to be an unfortunate name all around, as far as projects that involve new technology are concerned. After Apple, whose Titan dealt with the creation of autonomous cars, Google’s project Titan is going the way of the Dodo as well.
Which is not to say that the company is giving up on either its ambitions of providing Internet or building drones. While Google will still be attempting to achieve the first through other means (such as balloons), it also has other drone projects including, Project Black Rock and Wing. However, it would appear like the company has buried the hatchet in hopes of being able to provide Internet through drones. Is there a lesson for Facebook I wonder, which is attempting something similar.