Alphabet’s balloon-powered internet and delivery drone projects are graduating into actual businesses.
For years now, Google’s parent company has been incubating both Project Loon and Project Wing through the internet giant’s “moonshot factory,” X.
Both undertakings started off as experimental technologies, with Loon developing hot air balloons that can beam 4G internet, and Wing using drones to deliver items, such as burritos, through the air. But on Wednesday, Alphabet said both “bets” no longer seem like “crazy” concepts, but show promise to solve real problems.
“Now that the foundational technology for these projects is built, Loon and Wing are ready to take their products into the world,” wrote Astro Teller, head of Alphabet’s moonshot factory, in a blog post.
Both Loon and Wing will now operate as independent businesses under Alphabet. Each have also appointed their own CEOs.
Loon is focused on providing internet to populations without access to broadband. Last November, balloons from the project successfully beamed 4G LTE access to over 100,000 users in Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Wing is developing a drone delivery system so that goods can be transported more efficiently through the air. Last year, the project began flying Mexican food orders and pharmacy deliveries to residents’ backyards in Australia.
Alphabet’s moonshot factory also teased what’ll be focusing on next. It’ll include work on robotics, using beams of light to deliver high-speed connectivity, and also Google Glass, the company’s smart glasses product. “There’s a lot about how Loon and Wing worked that we look forward to replicating in the new moonshots that we’re taking now,” Teller added.
Other projects that’ve graduated from Alphabet’s moonshot factory include Waymo, or what was Google’s self-driving car project, which is currently offering free rides to passengers in Arizona as part of a public trial.