Report: Google to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace, previously wooed by Facebook

New Mexico-based Titan's aircraft are designed to stay aloft for years and can provide voice and data services

Titan's Solara 50 unmanned, solar powered aircraft.

Titan's Solara 50 unmanned, solar powered aircraft.

Google is buying drone-maker Titan Aerospace in a move poised to advance its airborne delivery of data services and mapping applications, according a Monday report in the Wall Street Journal.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Titan's aircraft, which it calls "atmospheric satellites," are designed to stay aloft for years and can provide voice and data services, according to the company, and can take images of the Earth and carry atmospheric-based sensor systems.

Facebook was in talks to buy the company earlier this year. But the social network later said it was bringing on team members from U.K.-based Ascenta, which makes its own solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

Titan and its roughly 209 employees will remain based in New Mexico, the Journal report said.

The Titan team will work closely with Google's Project Loon, which is building high-altitude balloons to bring Internet access to more people throughout the world, the report said.

Neither Google nor Titan immediately responded to comment.

Titan may also work with Makani, an early-stage Google project geared toward the development of an airborne wind turbine for generating energy more efficiently, the report said.

Advanced material design for lightweight flying vehicles, and algorithms for wind prediction and flight planning, would be a focus for the teams, according to the report.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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