Over the past few years, drones have been in the news for various reasons. Of course, there has been an increase in the use of military drones that can attack targets remotely, but there is also the far safer Amazon drones designed to deliver your online shopping by dropping it directly at your house.
The Amazon project remains unproven, but a recent acquisition by Google has shown that drones really can be big business in the civilian world.
Without disclosing any financial details, Google has acquired Titan Aerospace. Titan’s vehicles could be considered to be remote-controlled drones, but they are closer to satellites as they can fly at extremely high altitude – about 20km up – and can fly continuously for up to five years.
Google has said that their intention is to improve Internet access in remote locations using Titan technology, an intention reminiscent of their earlier intention to provide Internet access to remote regions using hot-air balloons.
These intentions are worthy. Nobody could criticise Google for attempting to increase digital inclusion in remote regions, but Google is a private company with shares traded on the stock market. If they are involved in a nascent business before it is obvious how they might make any money then the likelihood is that they believe a new market can be created.
This too is not a problem. Innovations such as the railways and air travel all got going because of people exploring new possibilities, rather than waiting for a government to provide all the answers, but in an age where our data is becoming more valuable than ever, shouldn’t people be a little more wary of just how they are connecting to the Internet?
Our personal data is only going to get more valuable in the future – it’s worth thinking about this when we consider how businesses may operate in the future.
Photo by CSUF licensed under Creative Commons