Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Facebook Could Buy Solar Drone Maker to Help 5 Billion People Connect to the Web

Business
Facebook Could Buy Solar Drone Maker to Help 5 Billion People Connect to the Web

One of the week's hot rumors pairs one of the Web's largest companies with a solar-powered technology that could help people in remote areas connect to the Internet.

Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, the company that created the world's first solar-powered drones. According to TechCrunch, Facebook's interest lies in its backing of the Internet.org initiative, which aims to connect 5 billion people in remote areas to the Internet.

Titan's Solara 60, an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), could go a long way toward helping that mission. According to the company, the Solara 60 and two other UAVs introduced that were introduced last year, are capable of flying for five years without the need to land.

This 2013 video from TomoNews US shows the capabilities of Titan's UAVs:

According to TechCrunch's source at Titan, Facebook could buy the company for $60 million.

"From our understanding, Facebook is interested in using these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa," the report reads. "The company would start by building 11,000 of these [UAVs], specifically the “Solara 60″ model."

Titan's chief technology officer, Max Yaney, founded the company about two years ago to produce UAVs that could perform the same functions as satellites that are closer to the Earth. The company worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration during the design process, according to Fortune. The FAA only regulates Class A airspace, which ends at 60,000 feet in the U.S. The Solara is designed to in the tropopause, a zone about 65,000 feet above sea level. It's described as a calm area with winds that are typically less than five knots.

The drones have internal battery banks that store solar energy to power the vehicles at night.

"We want something very simple and that doesn't take up all of your time and energy to keep it running," Titan's chief electrical engineer, Dustin Sanders, told Fortune in 2013. "If all you need is one person to keep an eye on the aircraft, that completely changes things.

"We're trying to change the mindset on how aircraft should operate."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.


OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Gwen Ranniger

In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less
Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less