Alphabet’s Loon project, which aimed to ensure internet through a series of balloons, was shut down last year. Still, the tech associated with it has been outgrowing into a startup that removes the floating platforms and sets its goal to use lasers and the cloud to provide internet to remote places.
Reportedly, the company which takes over Google tech is Aalyria. While as per reports that Alphabet has a minority stake in it, it will no longer be a secondary of Google’s shell company.
Moreover, Aalyria has two main focuses, Tightbeam, a laser communications system that utilizes beams of light to move data between base stations and endpoints, also, Spacetime, the cloud-based software meant to manipulate constantly changing connections.
However, Spacetime was initially intended to predict how Alphabet Loon’s balloons were in motion and keep the connections between them uninterrupted; now, its job is indicating when a Tightbeam station will have to keep away its connection to a moving object, like a plane or boat.
According to a report, Aalyria is selling its software now and plans on selling Tightbeam hardware next year.
Furthermore, in theory, the two could work together or separately as Spacetime isn’t just dependent on laser-based systems.
Substantially, Tightbeam is meant to transfer data in the same way as a fiber optic cable, beaming light from one point to another. However, it’s just doing it through the air instead of over a physical connection, which makes it more approachable, especially over long distances.
In addition, the company claims that the system is shockingly fast: “100-1000x faster than anything else available today,” according to a press release.
It is also noted that Tightbeam was dragged out of a Google project called Sonora, which the company didn’t publicly discuss.
Although, Alphabet did have another Loon-related laser project that saw the light of day: Project Taara, which ensures internet service in Africa using lasers intended initially to connect the balloons.
Moreover, Project Taara used those lasers, known as the Free Space Optical Communications links, to augment traditional fiber runs. Still, they could be used where cable runs are impossible or complicated.
Aalyria says it has its way of dealing with disruptions, which involves compensating for how something like rain or dust would distort or scatter the light being used to transmit the data.
Reports suggested that some Tightbeam tests have comprised ground stations sending a signal to planes; something similar could be done to send signals to satellites.
Aalyria faced tough competition from satellite companies like Globalstar, SpaceX and T-Mobile, AST SpaceMobile, Lynk Global, and Amazon, which has an agreement with Verizon to provide backhaul services for remote cell towers through Project Kuiper satellites.
Currently, Aalyria is a small group of 26 people. At the same time, it has the right to use Google’s tech; there’s a difference between making and testing cool tech and selling it for actual use, which Alphabet found out with Loon’s pilot commercial service in Kenya.
Still, the idea has been interesting enough to attract some investors, including the US Department of Defense.
Meanwhile, Aalyria’s CEO Chris Taylor said, “interconnect everything that exists today with everything that exists tomorrow,” lasers are still very effective at capturing the imagination.