A report from TechCrunch suggests that the social networking giant will gobble up Titan Aerospace, a manufacturer of solar powered drones, for $60 million, to bring the internet to some 5 billion people without connectivity around the world.
Amazon is not the only tech giant which dreams about these flying machines. Facebook aspires to pilot (fasten your seat belt!) a whopping 11,000 high-altitude self-driven drones that can stay in the sky for five years without having to land.
The Solara 60 model which WhatsApp’s new owner is eyeing is 60 metres wide, light-weight and self-sufficient as it produces 7 kW of electricity with its 3,000 solar panels. All the energy produced during the day, when the sun is up in the sky, will be stocked for night use.
Other than this, the drones have been crafted to participate in surveillance programs, to keep accurate track of weather conditions and to ease communications. The social network giant has a keen interest in the last option to give a booster to the “internet.org project” that is striving to bring internet at affordable costs to two-thirds of the world population without it, or with broken connectivity.
The laudable project was brought to light last year by a coalition of tech giants including Ericsson, Nokia, Opera, Samsung, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Facebook. If purchased, the drones should be used to fly with up to 100kg of equipment that provides internet connection to remote communities.
Needless to say, Google is working on a similar initiative on its side, known as Project Loon. Instead of drones, the California-based company will send 30 balloons equipped to produce 3G-like internet connection speed, to isolated areas of the world. But unlike the drones, the lifespan of the balloons is only 100 days!
Till now, both Titan Aerospace and Facebook have declined requests to comment on the rumours.
Source: The Telegraph