Facebook plans to acquire Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered atmospheric drone manufacturer, for $60 million, according to a TechCrunch report. Titan, founded in 2012, develops drones that carry a 250-pound payload and fly at 65,000 feet for up to five years at a time. Titan Aerospace targets a number of industries, including agriculture, space, meteorology, and disaster response.
Facebook's interest in Titan Aerospace stems from its Internet.org initiative, which aims to bring Internet access to the entire world. The plan, announced in August, focuses on a three-pronged approach: Develop a way to deliver data more efficiently and more affordably; use less data to improve the efficiency of apps; and help businesses drive Internet access by developing a new model to get people online.
Acquiring Titan Aerospace would support two of those goals by using the drones to blanket parts of the world with Internet access. Facebook plans to start with Africa and build 11,000 Solara 60 drones, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources.
Photo courtesy of Titan Aerospace
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— Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor.