No, Facebook drones will not be swooping down from the sky to deliver up-close-and-personal pokes, but according to a report by TechCrunch, the social network is in talks to acquire near-orbital, solar-powered drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace for $60 million, with the aim of using the drones to help bring Internet access to parts of the world currently lacking, starting with Africa, as part of its Internet.org initiative.
According to TechCrunch, the project would start with the construction of 11,000 Solara 60 (pictured above) unmanned aerial vehicles, which can store enough energy to reach 20 kilometers above sea level and remain there for five years without needing to refuel or land.
According to a source who spoke with TechCrunch, if Facebook’s acquisition of Titan Aerospace is finalized, all of Titan’s production would be devoted to Internet.org.
TechCrunch speculated that if Facebook’s plan comes to fruition, a more basic version of WhatsApp, the mobile messaging application Facebook acquired last month, could be made available to mobile users in those regions, allowing them to send messages and view status updates, even via poor connections.
According to TechCrunch, data-compression technologies from another recent Facebook acquisition, Onavo, could come into play during the process, as well, enabling Onavo-optimized apps from Facebook and WhatsApp to function on weaker connections.
Readers: What do you think about Facebook’s possible acquisition of Titan Aerospace?