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Google has officially announced that it has acquired seven robotics companies in the last six months, with the ultimate aim of creating a Google robot.
As far-fetched as it might sound, the firm’s takeover of companies like ‘Bot & Dolly’, ‘Industrial Perception’, ‘Autofuss’ and ‘Redwood Robotics’ is a clear sign that Google has big plans in this area.
Andy Rubin, who (perhaps ironically) oversaw the development of the Android operating system, is in charge of the project. He has stated that Google has a “10-year vision” for its robotics interests.
“We’re building hardware, we’re building software. We’re building systems; so one team will be able to understand the whole stack”.
However, despite rumours to the contrary, Google has explicitly stated that it does not plan to create any kind of robot for consumer purchase, leading some to speculate that the resulting Google product will be used to handle deliveries, thus going head-to-head with Amazon’s proposed Prime Air Project (which would use unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers by air).
The company itself has remained cagey regarding details. The official word so far is that “Any description of what Andy and his team might actually create are speculations of the author and the people he interviewed”
That’s what we get for asking nicely.
The project will operate between offices in Palo Alto, California and Japan.
The companies taken over by Google specialize in an esoteric mixture of robotics-based sciences. For example, Japanese acquisition ‘Schaft’, taken over earlier this year, specialize in the creation and operation of humanoid robots, while American company ‘Holomni’ work mainly with caster wheel modules that can accelerate a vehicle’s motion in any direction.
At this point in time, despite lots of media interest, just what Google plan to do in the field of robotics is anybody’s guess, however it should be noted that the science of robotics has come along in great leaps over the past several decades. Perhaps it is time for a Google Android in every home?
During a recent interview with the New York Times, Mr. Rubin described robotics as “A green field” and it will certainly be interesting to see what grows from this.