Google is seeking test pilots for Project Wing, Project Titan

Job postings a further sign of fast development of Google's airborne desires

A prototype Google Project Wing drone on show at Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, CA, on May 15, 2015. Credit: Melissa Aparicio

A prototype Google Project Wing drone on show at Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, CA, on May 15, 2015. Credit: Melissa Aparicio

Google is looking for a couple of people with the right stuff: test pilots for its Project Wing drone delivery project and Project Titan airborne Internet service.

The jobs, both posted on Google's website, are additional signs of the rapid pace of research and development into aerial automation going on at the Mountain View company. Google recently said it hopes to start commercial drone delivery operations in 2017.

For Project Wing, the company is looking for an expert remote-controlled aircraft pilot who "will act as chief test pilot that will help the team execute flight tests on custom UAS platforms."

"We've built a prototype to show how such a system can work and are now developing the next generation to be ultra reliable and ready for service," the job posting says. "We tackle performance, autonomy, costs, security, reliability, and above all, safety."

Current U.S. law heavily restricts the type of drone flight that can be conducted by companies. One of the stipulations in all drone flight licenses is that a human operator must remain in control and the drone must be within his or her sight at all times.

Project Titan drones operate at altitudes higher than commercial aircraft and aren't bound by the same human-operator rules, but Google needs a flight test pilot for that project too.

Candidates should have "extensive experience in flying prototype air vehicles" including unmanned and electric aircraft, and could end up in one of several roles including air vehicle operator, external pilot, observer and chase pilot, the job posting says.

The two job postings also expose a difference in the level of technology and research taking place within the two projects. While the delivery drone project is open to anyone, the Titan project job ad hints at requiring a government security clearance "to access the technical and defense data necessary for this job" and is restricted to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

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Martyn Williams

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