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Google Has Two New Drones in the Works -- But They're for Internet Access and Data, Not Delivery

These aren't the drones you were looking for.

Titan Aerospace

Earlier this month, Google filed paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration for two new unmanned aerial vehicles, registering the craft to the company’s Boulder, Colo., office. The tech site Engadget first spotted the filings and guessed that they belonged to Project Wing, the drone delivery initiative inside Google X. In March, Google X chief Astro Teller said his team was reworking its drone design after some failed flight trials.

Turns out, the FAA paperwork is for another Google drone project.

Sources familiar with the company said they come from Project Titan, the product of Google’s acquisition of the aerospace company last year. So the FAA, which is currently late on its deadline for national drone regulation, would be approving flying things that Google has said it will use for providing Internet access and data harvesting related to problems like deforestation. With Titan, Google competes with Facebook, unlike delivery of goods via drone, where Google will, conceivably, compete with Amazon.

Here is how Re/code’s James Temple explained the Titan purchase:

The devices are far less expensive than traditional satellites, and can return to earth for maintenance or to swap out payloads, the company has said previously.

It’s easy to imagine the technology bolstering an array of the Mountain View search giant’s product and research areas, including Google Earth, Google Maps and Project Loon, the company’s effort to connect the developing world online through high-altitude balloons.

Also, if you care about these things: Project Titan falls under the Access and Energy division, which is a separate Alphabet company led by Craig Barratt.

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