Google's parent companyAlphabet has expanded its portfolio of subsidiaries, now that two of its moonshot projects have become fully independent businesses.
"Now that the foundational technology for these projects is built, Loon and Wing are ready to take their products into the world; this is work best done outside of the prototyping-focused environment of X", said X CEO Astro Teller in the announcement. The newly minted Alphabet division has already started making concrete progress towards that goal.
Wing aims to create the next generation of delivery drones that can travel nearly anywhere. Technical hurdles remain, such as delivering in urban areas, and while the regulations may pose a bigger challenge, Wing has worked hard to flawless its technology since it began in 2012, at one point scrapping its entire design. The Federal Aviation Administration is slowly authorizing tests of drone deliveries in the United States, including an upcoming pilot with Wing in Virginia.
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Loon began in 2011 inside X. Its balloons have since traveled more than 18 million miles, delivering Internet from Brazil to New Zealand.
Although Loon and Wing are now stand-alone units inside Alphabet, it still may be years before they become full-fledged businesses, if ever. Before these two projects became their own, separate businesses, it was Waymo that Alphabet most recently liberated from its umbrella. Alphabet used Loon to restore basic internet access for 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after last year's hurricane.
Fortunately, "the moonshot factory", as Alphabet's X division calls itself, has released an informative and inspiring video to commemorate the event.