Facebook is in discussions to purchase Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered drones that can apparently stay up in the skies for up to five years at a time. According to Techcrunch’s sources, Facebook wants solar-powered drones to deliver sky-based internet access, with a view to building 11,000 UAVs to deliver data services, at least initially, in Africa. The drone company has confirmed that there are discussions with Facebook.
Facebook, one of the primary backers of the Internet.org initiative, which aims to bring affordable Internet access to the 5 billion people in the world who still lack connectivity, is in talks with a company that could help further that agenda. TechCrunch is hearing that Facebook is buying Titan Aerospace, makers of near-orbital, solar-powered drones which can fly for five years without needing to land. According to a source with access to information about the deal, the price for this acquisition is $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 company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60″ model.