Alphabet added two more companies to its Other Bets category, graduating its Project Loon and Project Wing ventures from the company’s X research division to fully-fledged subsidiaries.
As part of the shift, the units are dropping the project moniker and being rebranded simply as Loon and Wing.
Loon, which partners with mobile operators to deliver internet connectivity using helium balloons, will be led by former project head Alastair Westgarth. James Ryan Burgess, who co-led drone delivery scheme Project Wing since 2012, will serve as Wing’s new CEO, working alongside Adam Woodworth as CTO.
Alphabet’s head of X, Astro Teller, said in a blog post the move will give both products more room to grow.
“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.”
He added with Loon and Wing out the door, the X team can turn its attention to new moonshot projects and expand work on its robotics, free-space optics and Glass spectacles ventures.
Project Loon notably teamed up with US operators in 2017 to help restore connectivity in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
The decision to spin the pair into separate companies comes just weeks after Facebook abandoned its own drone-based internet connectivity project, Aquila, after nearly four years of development.