Google bought a company that makes solar drones, and we’re officially freaked out

titan drone

It isn’t unheard of for some of Google’s acquisitions to come with a bit of unease, but their latest one probably takes the biggest piece of cake of them all. The Mountain View company has confirmed the purchase of New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace, a company that specializes in creating high-altitude drone technology for use in… whatever.

The company is said to begin interfacing with the team working on Project Loon, which is a vision that Google hopes can bring balloon-carried high-speed WiFi transmitters and deliver widespread connectivity for the masses. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Google could work with Makani, an internal team tasked with researching and developing airborne wind-powered turbines for more efficient energy.

All of this sounds quite fine — in fact, it’s all kind of cool — but there’s one other harrowing thing Google could be looking to do with their new-found knowledge of drone technology. It’s said that the drones could likely be put to use for purposes of gathering and collecting data, likely to help improve Google’s mapping business.

Google already employs the likes of self-driving cars and camera-equipped airplanes to take snapshots of the world for use in Google Maps, but Titan’s drones could bring a flexible, modular system that does all of that and more. That “more” could including anything from atmospheric sensors for recording climate data to delivering aforementioned airborne WiFi to countries that aren’t well-equipped for hard-line access.

The drones themselves aren’t your Amazon Drone Delivery or consumer-focused Parrot AR Drone-sized pieces of equipment, either — the smallest drone Titan makes is slightly larger than a Boeing 767, which is a passenger cruiser that can seat anywhere between 181 and 375 people. Let that sink into your brain for just a second.

Of course, Google’s intentions probably aren’t as scary as our brains will make them out to be, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the culmination of all these different pieces (Google has made a strong push to acquire robotics and AI companies recently) ends up being.

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  • Chimphappyhour

    A) Google doesn’t use the self-driving cars for mapping and street view work.

    B) Project Loon was the first thing that came to my mind. Not sure why one would automatically assume some scary scenario of snooping.

    • guitarist5122

      My thoughts as well. Phandroid stooping to tabloid headlines.

  • Fr0stTr0n

    Google, calm the fvck down already with buying half the damn planet…

    • Gsizzle

      Oh yea right, because Apple and Facebook are just sitting their watching Google take over. Gimme a break.

      • Matthew Merrick

        Facebook is at least trying to compete. Apple is just sitting on its hands and occasionally suing someone.

        • Fr0stTr0n

          Occasionally?

  • Tom Sly

    Google drone could help with search and rescue of missing airplanes ! Or… Checking on an injured balLoon ? Google already knows everything about us lol so this doesn’t freak me out at all.

  • andros69

    So… where are the examples of uses of drones to get “freaked out” about? Did I miss something in the article?

    • Fel Pe

      I got a little freaked out when I read that this drone is the size of a Boeing 767. I mean, can you imagine how many GoPros you can hook up on it? o.O

  • TheJunkie

    Given how evil google has become, freakin’ out is right……..
    I can’t see how it is related to my beloved android. All I can think of is that google is looking to top NSA on spying if they haven’t already.

    • burgosma

      LOL evil? Can you be any more of a sensationalist?

    • Satan’s Taint

      Someone forgot to take their medication.

    • Canon User

      No more evil than any other company…

  • KingofPing

    This would make a great floating server-farm. Satellite-connected, solar powered, untethered to any nation/state.

    With a few dozen of these in the air they could blanket the planet with whatever signals they wanted to…

    Yeah, that’s starting to sink in a bit…

    Sounds like fun! (Well, interesting times, at least)

  • Crimsonshadow774

    Oh god here come the privacy idiots. I’m all for laying low and not putting everything out there but some people take it way too far.

  • Micha Ols

    As if google would need drones to sniff. They control half of the internet and 3/4 of all mobile photography produced on the planet.

  • Delmar

    Cant wait till they release the T-800 mapping system

    • bbqsfire

      That is exactly what google is doing. Skynet was the made up google. Google should realize they are on path to create the terminators that destroy the world. Soon google will be selling guns and weapons to the federal government. That is what the floating barge was for. When the world is destroyed the google execs will have a big barge to live on.

      • Mirad77

        Are you talking about the Google that I know or the one that talks to you alone?

        • bbqsfire

          Haha…same one everyone knows. Considering they are on 90 percent of the electronic devices in my house.

          • Mirad77

            I was just kidding but really I’d prefer Google to have my info to send my ads I don’t open than Facebook who sells my info to highest bidder.
            Put it this way, Google is the devil I know and like. :)

      • Fel Pe

        Did you skip your med today my friend?

        • bbqsfire

          Apparently my joke is not being perceived that way. Oh well, I tried to provide a few laughs.

          • Fel Pe

            Jk :)

  • Mark Johnston

    maps, weather, wifi, traffic updates, seems like a lot of options for google.

  • Satan’s Taint

    Cue all the Alex Jones cultists who’ll have a field day with this.

  • David W

    With all of these other countries wanting to produce their own “internet” because they are pissed about NSA snooping, I see Google doing this to keep options in their pocket. It would be difficult for some country to control an internet that is being mass broadcast from a satellite. I dont think drones will be able to survive tight airspace restrictions in countries like that though. Im thinking this is a testbed for getting that technology rolling for satellites.

  • Marsg

    Probably has something to to do with Google maps

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    Because privacy is a dated concept am I right? I mean who needs locks on your door and passwords let’s share anything and everything with Mother google and the rest of the world.

  • Prasad Tiruvalluri

    Why is it scary for you – This to the author? Doing something nefarious? I do not drones will help catch you taking the big fat check that you get from Google detractors..

  • DannyB2

    Drones make it easier to see through windows to know what you are doing right now . . .

    . . . and which advertisements would be best this very second.