Google-parent Alphabet's drone project may not soar after all

The Titan drone project is cut after setbacks, according to reports.

Photo by Titan Aerospace

Google's high-flying drone dreams may be dashed for now. Its parent company, Alphabet, has reportedly cut the Titan program, which Google first acquired in 2014.

Buying Titan Aerospace gave Google (in its pre-Alphabet days) access to high-altitude, solar-powered craft capable of beaming internet service to the developing world. The drones, which could fly at a height of 12 miles, were also to be tasked with collecting real-time images of the globe, as well as atmospheric data.

The team's progress was apparently hobbled by a series of setbacks, including a crash in New Mexico related to wing problems.

The Titan team's reported 50-odd employees will be dispersed into other teams within Alphabet, according to 9to5 Google. Assuming the drone effort is actually being disbanded, and not being absorbed into another project that also focuses on solar-powered flight, that leaves Facebook-owned Ascenta and its Aquila drone to pursue the Silicon Valley dream of operating high-altitude internet delivery.

Google's press team (which also handles press for Alphabet) did not respond to a request for comment.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition, right here.

Life, disrupted: In Europe, millions of refugees are still searching for a safe place to settle. Tech should be part of the solution. But is it? CNET investigates.

Close
Drag