The Google team has been working for some time on a project codenamed Minkowski, which will now be spun off into a separate startup called Aalyria, which will develop high-speed communications networks, reports CNBC.
Aalyria’s light laser technology, which it calls Tightbeam, ensures, the startup says, that data remains “intact through the atmosphere, weather conditions and provides communication where no supporting infrastructure exists.” The company also claims to have laser communications technology “on an exponentially greater scale and speed than anything that exists today.” The Aalyria software platform has been used in many of Google’s aerospace network projects.
Google declined to provide details about Aalyria, such as how long the company has been working on the technology and how many of its employees will join the startup. For its part, Aalyria says its mission is to operate “hyper fast, ultra-secure, and highly complex communications networks that span land, sea, air, near space, and deep space.”
The separation of Aalyria from Google was necessary after parent company Alphabet faced a slowdown in advertising revenue and sought to spend less on experimental projects. Part of that means finding outside funding for some of the projects Alphabet has been developing for years. Companies such as biomedical startup Verily and self-driving car maker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has shut down initiatives such as Makani, which built energy-generating kites, and Loon, an internet company that sought to create internet coverage in remote areas thanks to balloons.
Aalyria said it has an $8.7 million commercial contract with the US Defense Innovation Unit. The startup will be headed by CEO and national security expert Chris Taylor, who has already managed other companies that cooperated with the government.
Alphabet itself is also looking for more lucrative government contracts and earlier this year announced Google Public Sector, a new subsidiary focused on partnering with the US government primarily through Google Cloud.
Aalyria’s board of directors includes several former Google employees and executives, as well as Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, who is known as one of the fathers of the Internet.
Google will retain a minority stake in Aalyria, but the company declined to say how much it owns or how much outside funding it has raised. Google says it transferred intellectual property, patents, and physical assets, including office space, to Aalyria earlier this year.