Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot named WildCat can gallop at high speeds
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.
It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection. But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software.
The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.
Leo Kelion reports: Google has revealed it has taken over seven robotics companies in the past half a year and has begun hiring staff to develop its own product.
A spokesman confirmed the effort was being headed up by Andy Rubin, who was previously in charge of the Android operating system.
The spokesman was unwilling to discuss what kind of robot was being developed.
But the New York Times reports that at this stage Google does not plan to sell the resulting product to consumers.
Instead, the newspaper suggests, Google’s robots could be paired with its self-driving car research to help automate the delivery of goods to people’s doors.
It notes the company has recently begun a same-day grocery delivery service in San Francisco and San Jose, called Google Shopping Express.
That would pitch the initiative against Amazon’s Prime Air Project, which envisages using drones to transport goods to its customers by air.
“Any description of what Andy and his team might actually create are speculations of the author and the people he interviewed,” said Google of the NYT article. Read the rest of this entry »
By Chris Velazco
Apple made waves this morning when it announced its oft-rumored September 10 event, but Google isn’t giving up the day’s limelight without a fight — according to a post on Sundar Pichai’s Google+ page, over one billion Android devices have been activated to date.