Facebook has been leaned in an interesting business move, with sources saying it is acquiring drone maker Titan Aerospace. With these drones, the social network will reportedly be undertaking an effort similar to Google’s Project Loon, bringing Internet access to regions that are currently unconnected, or having very limited (usually expensive) options. The Solara 60 is the model which Facebook is interested in, and Facebook will apparently build 11,000 of these drones to provide Internet access to areas which have no coverage.
Titan Aerospace is a privately held venture with R&D facilities in New Mexico. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding through seed and Series A and A-1 rounds, and had announced in October 2013 it would open a B round soon.
Techcrunch says that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg & Co are in talks with drone maker Titan Aerospace to bring their solar-powered UAVs onboard for the ambitious plan of bringing the next 5 billion people online. Facebook, driven by Zuckerberg, is one of the leading companies invested in the Internet.org project and these drones would fit right in their plan. The website says its sources have revealed the price for this acquisition to be around $60 million, which, if true, is significantly less than what the company paid to acquire WhatsApp.
“The company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60? model,” TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez and Josh Constine write. “The Solara 50 and 60 models can be launched at night using power from internal battery packs, then when the sun rises, they can store enough energy to ascend to 20KM above sea level where they can remain for five years without needing to land or refuel.”
It is a long term plan for sure. And all of this fits in with Facebook’s plan for the future. They have also recently acquired Onavo- a company which works on data compression. In all probability it might be used to develop technologies so that even with slow speeds the Internet will be accessible to everyone.
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