Google announced on Monday that it would be acquiring Titan Aerospace, a startup that develops high-altitude, solar-powered drones. Titan Aerospace was previously courted by Facebook for a reported $60 million buyout, but it appears that Google struck first. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google did not divulge the price of the acquisition, but the search giant did say that the 20 or so employees of Titan will remain in their New Mexico location. CEO Vern Raburn will also continue to run the company.
Google plans to ingratiate the Titan team with its own Project Loon, an undertaking which hopes to expand Internet coverage by building large, Internet-enabled balloons for areas of the world that are not yet online.
“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 a statement.
The Titan team claims that its drones could deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, faster than most broadband connections in the United States and other developed regions. The team hopes to begin “initial commercial operations” in 2015.