The two projects are graduating from X, the company’s moonshot factory.
What they do: Project Loon (one of our 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2015) is developing a network of high-altitude balloons that can provide internet access in remote locations. Project Wing, meanwhile, is building a drone delivery system and traffic management platform.
The news: The experiments will become two individual organizations operating under the auspices of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Called Loon and Wing (they are dropping the “project” moniker), they will continue with the same goals they have been pursuing at X.
$$$$: The shift means a greater focus on making money. Loon plans to bring in the bucks by integrating with telecom companies around the world. Wing, meanwhile, is continuing its Australian delivery service and is participating in the US Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program.
Previous graduates: These projects follow in the footsteps of Waymo, the autonomous-car company, Verily, a life sciences business, and the cybersecurity company Chronicle, all of which graduated from X to become separate entities in Alphabet’s network.
Why it matters: The graduation acts as a sort of stamp of approval from Alphabet on the potential of these technologies. “Today, unlike when they started as X projects, Loon and Wing seem a long way from crazy ,” Astro Teller, X’s Captain of Moonshots, wrote in a blog post.