First it was Amazon, now it's Facebook: is the social media giant the next big tech company that is getting into the drone business?
Over the past day or so, reports have begun circulating that Facebook was looking to make a new purchase in drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace. Now, new reports have put a price tag on that reported purchase.
VatorNews has reached out to both Facebook and Titan Aerospace to confirm the reports. Neither company was available for comment. We will update the story if we learn more.
Founded in 2012, Titan Aerospace is the developer of solar powered drones, or what it calls "high altitude, solar powered atmospheric satellites." It provoded real-time high-resolution images of the earth, voice and data services, navigation and mapping services, and atmospheric-based monitoring systems.
So what would Facebook want to do with these drones? The most obvious answer is that it would be used to fulfill one of its stated goals: to give Internet to everyone.
In August of last year, Mark Zuckerberg, along with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung, came together to form Internet.org, an organization dedicated to connecting the rest of the world to the Internet. Internet.org's goals are to make Internet more affordable, efficient and to help drive access.
Facebook took a step in that direction with its $19 billion purchase of messaging service WhatsApp a couple of weeks ago, which was most likely aimed at the last of those goals. The purchase of Titan, though, would probably be aimed at the second goal.
The company would likely use Titan's satellites to float above the areas of the world without clean signals, including Africa and the Middle East, to help them get a better signal.
They would be used in a similar way, it would seem, as the balloon's in Google's Project Loon, another effect to bring Internet access to the world by using solar powered balloons.
The balloons will float 20 kilometers above the earth, in the stratosphere, higher than the altitude at which most planes travel. In the stratosphere, wind is layered and go in particular directions, so Google can actually steer the balloons by going up and down between the different layers.
Once the balloons are up in the air, there are special annetenas on the ground that are used to communicate with them. Each antenna talks to a balloon, and then each balloon talks to the other balloons, and then back to a ground station, which is connected to the local Internet provider. This, essentially, creates a network in the sky.
The New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace raised an undisclosed amount of Series A and A-1 financing. The company said in October that it was looking to raise a Series B round as well.
(Image source: titanaerospace.com)