When it comes to the robotics industry, Google has been plenty busy making headlines over the past year or so. These headlines include the purchase of eight robotic companies, including Boston Dynamics—a company that develops mobile robots for the U.S. military, as well as news that Google would work with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn to develop a vision for the future of Google’s robots. It should come as no surprise then, that Google has announced the acquisition of UAV company Titan Aerospace, as the company looks to add aerial technology to its robotic repertoire.
Google, according to The Wall Street Journal, will use the 20-person startup company’s drones for a number of reasons, the first of which is to collect “real-time, high resolution images of the Earth,” in addition to supporting voice and data services. Anyone who has ever used Google Earth or Google Maps’ Street View knows how detailed these images and services are, but the use of UAVs for aerial photos will undoubtedly increase worldwide coverage and enhance the already-high level of detail.
In addition to using the UAVs for photography, however, Google has said that the Titan team will work closely with Project Loon, in which larger, high-altitude balloons will send Internet signals to areas of the world that are not currently online. The Titan team may also work with another recent Google acquisition, Makani, which is developing an airborne wind turbine in hopes of generating energy more efficiently.
According to its website, Titan’s UAVs are able to help deliver Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit/s using specialty communications equipment. “Initial commercial operations” are expected to begin in 2015. Titan Aerospace had recently been linked to Facebook, but Facebook ended up purchasing Ascenta, a competitor of Titan Aerospace. Now, the two companies seem to be racing to provide worldwide Internet. Things are certainly going to get interesting going forward.
The race for global Internet is not the only thing that should be fun to watch in the coming years; however, as Google’s robotic revolution continues to expand. In addition to Internet service provider, Google’s robotic subdivisions include projects that serve military, automation, filmmaking, and more. In what other markets or applications do you see Google expanding its operations? Let us know in the comment section below.