Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), or Alphabet as the business is known now, has decided to officially end their plan to provide internet services to homes in rural and remote areas throughout the world using solar-powered drones. The project titled “Titan” was actually shelved a year back, but Google disclosed this officially only on Wednesday.
Google’s Project Loon Viewed More Promising Than X
It was learned that the project has been integrated with robotics initiatives of X, which is Google’s research and development factory. However, there is still the Project Loon, where the tech firm in currently spending money to send balloons to the edge of space so that internet can be beamed back. So the good news is that Google hasn’t completely given up on providing internet yet.
It’s just that, Google now feels that the Loon project holds more promise in connecting the world through internet. In fact, high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles may still be launched sometime in the future. The company is also viewing Loon as more feasible, both technically and economically.
The difference between Loon and Titan is that, while Loon uses hot air balloons, Titan’s focus was on sending drones up into the space. But, these solar-powered vehicles have been facing technical challenges. There were funding problems as well, which may have been the reason why Google eventually decided to shelve it.
Google’s Statement on Titan and Project Loon
Google issued a statement saying, “Titan was brought into X in late 2015. We ended our exploration of high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles 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”.
Titan Aerospace was acquired in 2014 after they were able to successfully beat the bid of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which has also been trying to use drones for internet. Google said at the time “Atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation”.
However, they did point out that these were still early days. A lot more development was needed before it became a reality.
The drones Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) have used have faced problems. In June, the Aquila drone crashed while in test flight, and the National Transportation Safety Board ordered an investigation. Earlier in 2016, one of the satellites too was destroyed after an explosion. The internet drones of Facebook have faced problems as well.