X projects Loon and Wing have left the nest and graduated to independent companies under Google’s parent company Alphabet, X Captain of Moonshots, Astro Teller, wrote in a Medium post yesterday.
“Today, unlike when they started as X projects, Loon and Wing seem a long way from crazy — and thanks to their years of hard work and relentless testing in the real world, they’re now graduating from X to become two new independent businesses within Alphabet: Loon and wing,” Teller wrote in the post.
Loon and Wing, which respectively launched in 2013 and 2014, have both seen substantial progress from the moonshot ideas they were proposed as.
Loon, a fleet of internet enabling balloons that patrol the skies to connect remote and technologically undeserved areas, played a role in connecting those affected by flooding in Peru last summer and assisted those devastated by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico this past fall.
Meanwhile, Wing, an autonomous drone delivery service aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, has tested its drones remote reach through burrito deliveries in Australia. This May, the U.S. Department of Transportation selected Wing as one of ten teams to push the limits of drone technology in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.
In his statement, Teller announced that Alastair Westgarth will be stepping in as Loon’s new CEO and Wing will welcome James Ryan Burgess as its new CEO along with Adam Woodworth as CTO.
Loon and Wing will now join the ranks of X’s four fellow graduates, including the self-driving car company Waymo and the cybersecurity analytics platform Chronicle, as well as competitors like SpaceX’s prototyped system of internet satellites and Amazon’s long discussed drone delivery system.
The skies ahead are far from clear, but with the backing of Alphabet these bright-eyed new companies have a solid start.