Hot air is attributed to many billionaires, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin is taking that to a new place.
Brin’s secretive side venture, LTA Research & Exploration, indulges his long-held flight of fancy: airships.
Yes, like the Hindenburg…
… but modernized, per Bloomberg Businessweek.
- LTA’s airships, built largely with carbon-fiber tubing, are lighter and more durable than dirigibles of old.
- Its first model, Pathfinder 1, is shaped like “a very tubby cigar” and powered by “helium cells,” diesel generators, and lithium-ion batteries.
OK, but why?
LTA imagines a few use cases:
- Eco-friendly hauling: Its airships can travel 2k+ nautical miles per trip and carry ~10x more cargo than a Boeing 737.
- Supply drops: Following disasters, ports, railways, runways, and roads can be inaccessible; airships can make vital deliveries without any of them.
- Exotic travel: If people want slow, scenic jaunts between destinations, LTA’s open to making it happen.
Your takeaway: Find someone who loves you like Brin loves airships; this is his second startup attempting to revive them. Brin — still an Alphabet board member who’s worth ~$105B — has funneled an estimated $250m+ into LTA so far.
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