You might recall that several years ago, Google (before they were known as Alphabet) had plans for a solar-powered drone. This was following their acquisition of drone company Titan in which Google then integrated the team into its Google X division, a part of the company that dabbled in all kinds of interesting projects such as their self-driving cars and Google Glass.
Now it has been a while since we’ve heard about the solar-powered drones and there is a good reason why: it seems that the project has been canned. In a statement made to 9to5Google, an X spokesperson revealed that the project had actually come to an end some time in 2016 as they felt that Project Loon was better in terms of economics and technical feasibility.
The spokesperson said, “The team from Titan was brought into X in early 2016. We ended our exploration of high-altitude UAVs for internet access shortly after. By comparison, at this stage the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world. Many people from the Titan team are now using their expertise as part of other high flying projects at X, including Loon and Project Wing.”
For those unfamiliar, the idea behind the solar-powered drones and Project Loon is to try and bring internet to places that are remote. This would be faster and more efficient than laying the groundwork for cables.