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Google Working With FAA on US Drone License

Google is staffing up its Titan Aerospace operation as it looks to test solar drones in the US.

Dan Jones

September 15, 2014

2 Min Read
Google Working With FAA on US Drone License

Google appears to be staffing up its recently acquired Titan Aerospace solar drone operation as it works to get a license from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to test the massive unmanned aircraft in the US.

The search giant is currently advertising for 10 positions at the facility in Moriarty, N.M.

These positions include engineers, a technical writer and an "FAA Quality Assurance" program manager. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says in the ads that it is "working with the FAA to obtain permission to use airspace for flight testing within the National Airspace System and Special Airworthiness Certification for its aircraft."

Google has so far carried out its drone and "Project Loon" balloon testing outside the US. Most recently, it revealed that it has been testing "Project Wing" delivery drone prototypes in Australia. (See Now Google Planning Drones-to-Go.)

The Titan Aerospace drones, however, are nothing like the tiny delivery drones. They can be huge, solar-powered crafts intended to fly high and stay in the air for years without refueling. They are touted as a way to provide Internet connectivity for hard-to-wire areas, amongst other applications. (See Google Plans Web of Satellites – Report.)

Here's a video Titan Aerospace posted of its Solara 50 drone before it was acquired by Google:

Want to know more about mobile broadband? Check out our dedicated channel here on Light Reading.

Google isn't the only Silicon Valley star interested in using solar drones to provide Internet from the sky. Facebook bought British drone startup Ascenta in March for "Internet to everyone" applications.

The FAA, meanwhile, has been asked by Congress to come up with a plan by September 15, 2015, for safe integration of commercial drones into US airspace. It has said that it intends to publish its first ruling on small commercial drones this year and will take a phased approach to bringing commercial drones to American airspace.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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