Facebook in talks with drone maker Titan Aerospace - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Facebook in talks with drone maker Titan Aerospace about possible acquisition, report says

Posted: Updated:

Facebook is reportedly in talks with drone maker Titan Aerospace, with those familiar with the situation suggesting the social networking giant could be preparing to offer up to $60 million for the company.

You might be wondering why on earth Facebook would have any interest in a drone manufacturer; after all, it's not in the business of delivering pizza or beer – or any other goodies for that matter – to its many users.

The fact is, Titan Aerospace can help Mark Zuckerberg with his dream of bringing affordable Internet access to everyone on the planet, with the near-orbital, solar-powered pilotless flying machines helping to provide that access. The New Mexico-based company already has experience of such work with the Internet Africa Project, which is helping to provide Internet access to previously isolated populations across the continent.

Its solar-powered drones, which are capable of staying airborne for as long as five years at a time, could be used "to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa," TechCrunch reported Monday night.

According to an unnamed source, Titan Aerospace would start off by building 11,000 ‘Solara 60′ drones to help with Facebook's plan.

The so-called ‘atmospheric satellites,' which would fly at a height of around 12.5 miles (20 km), are capable of carrying out many of the functions of higher-placed orbital satellites but are cheaper and more versatile, according to TechCrunch.

The Facebook boss talked about his plan to bring Internet access to all during a speech delivered at MWC in Barcelona last week.

"Most of the world don't have any Internet access at all," Zuckerberg said, explaining that to bring global connectivity would require "dramatic changes" in the tech industry.

As a major backer of the Internet.org initiative, Facebook has already teamed up with a number of big firms – Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung among them – as part of a long-term effort to reduce the cost of Internet access around the world. Its acquisition of Titan Aerospace would obviously fit with this initiative.

Mark Little, principal analyst at tech consultancy firm Ovum, told the BBC recently that putting money into emerging markets would go toward helping to boost advertising income for the social networking company in the future.

He added that the current situation (ie. limited Internet connectivity around the world), combined with the dominance of regional social networks, both hinder Facebook's global expansion plans. If Mark Zuckerberg can "make it easier for the world to share information," Little said, then "the more ads Facebook can sell."

Of course, much of Little's thoughts on the subject can be applied to Google's Project Loon initiative, too, which also has the goal to bring affordable Internet access to various parts of the world, as well as to isolated areas.

  • Spotlight StoriesMore>>

  • Mich. teen gets heart transplant for her 15th birthday

    Mich. teen gets heart transplant for her 15th birthday

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:18:13 GMT
    A St. Clair County cheerleader was feeling fine when she got a routine EKG to check her heart rhythm. The results of that simple scan are so shocking - her life immediately changed forever.
    A St. Clair County cheerleader was feeling fine when she got a routine EKG to check her heart rhythm. The results of that simple scan are so shocking - her life immediately changed forever.
  • Pay It Forward: Musical Cop

    Pay It Forward: Musical Cop

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:18:09 GMT
    This person has two very different identities. That is one part of this story. The other part, though, has everything to do with realizing your own dream so that others can too.
    This person has two very different identities. That is one part of this story. The other part, though, has everything to do with realizing your own dream so that others can too.
  • MUST SEE VIDEO: Whale lifts kayakers out of water

    MUST SEE VIDEO: Whale lifts kayakers out of water

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:18:04 GMT
    Two kayakers' close encounter with a pod of whales turned into an even more special experience, when one of the animals lifted them completely out of the water.
    Two kayakers' close encounter with a pod of whales turned into an even more special experience, when one of the animals lifted them completely out of the water.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices