Google buys solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace

|By:, SA News Editor

Titan Aerospace, once rumored to be in Facebook's crosshairs, has been acquired by Google (GOOG +0.8%).

The Information previously reported of Google's interest in Titan. The Web giant plans to have Titan's drones (the Solara 50 and Solara 60) complement Project Loon, which aims to provide 3G-or-faster Web access via hot-air balloons to areas lacking connectivity. Google might also have Titan support its Makani unit, which is working on airborne wind turbines.

Facebook, for its part, is looking to connect offline regions with the help of its Connectivity Lab and recently-acquired U.K. drone startup Ascenta.

Titan's 20-employee team will remain at its New Mexico HQ. In addition to providing voice/data services, Titan asserts its drones will be able to collect high-res imagery and sport atmospheric sensors (possibly of value for Google Maps). It expects individual drones to support up to 1Gbps of bandwidth.

UAV maker AeroVironment (AVAV +0.7%) has turned positive on the news.