With the unmanned aircraft industry blossoming into a multi-billion industry before our very eyes, it’s not surprising to see some of the big names in tech turn their focus to drones.
Amazon was the first to show interest in the technology as a means of getting its products to customers faster. Both Sony and GoPro are working on drones of their own and though Google has shown interest in the aircraft as a delivery method like Amazon, the search giant recently registered two drones with the Federal Aviation Administration for a very different purpose.
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According to a report from Re/code, Google registered the aircraft as part of Project Titan, an effort to bring Internet access to remote parts of the world via drones. Google purchased Titan Aerospace, a maker of high-altitude, solar-powered fixed wing drones, last year.
In essence, Re/code reports Google’s Titan drones would be used to broadcast a wireless Internet signal much like a satellite. But the site notes drones “are far less expensive than traditional satellites, and can return to earth for maintenance or to swap out payloads.”
The Project Titan drones will also reportedly be used for “data harvesting related to problems like deforestation,” but these wandering sets of eyes could also prove useful to improving Google Earth and Google Maps, Re/code reports.
The drones aren’t the only method of Internet access distribution Google is studying. The company is also working on Project Loon, which uses balloons floating in the stratosphere to broadcast signal.