Move over, NSA. It looks like Facebook might have spent $60 million on solar-powered drones that can fly for five years without needing to land. This week, the Internet giant has been rumored to have acquired Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based start-up and the company behind these insane devices.
The good news is that on face value, or at least according to what Facebook says, we won't see them using these drones to spy on you sun tanning in your backyard. Instead, Facebook, vowing to make the Internet more affordable and accessible to 5 billion people worldwide as part of the Internet.org movement, has probably purchased Titan Aerospace in order to make that promise more of a reality.
Sources close to the matter said that Facebook would be building 11,000 of Titan Aerospace's Solara 60 model. This drone runs off of internal battery power and is launched at night. It then uses the solar panels attached to the unit to rise up to 12.5 miles above sea level, about 3 miles higher than commercial and military jets. The Solara 50 has a wingspan the same as a Boeing-787 and can carry a 70 pound payload. The company is also looking to launch the Solara 60 sometime in 2015, which will be able to hold 250 pounds.
All in, these aircraft should be able to dish up Internet access in an 18-mile radius. Hooking up 11,000 of these bad boys in one insanely true-to-life Skynet would surely make Internet an accessible thing to almost everyone.
Of course, all this is a rumor as of right now until we get an official statement from either party involved, but it sure does make sense, considering Facebook's stance on affordable Internet. To further aid the rumor to being true is the recent $16 million purchase of WhatsApp, a company that currently has 1 billion users, of which, Facebook is looking to tap into. Perhaps the two worlds can unite and Facebook's "next billion" initiative can become a reality. Hey, if it puts the power of the Internet in more hands, I'm okay with all of this. Well, as long as I can suntan in peace.