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 Ã¢â‚¬â€ cheetahlike Ã¢â‚¬â€ 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 GoogleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Under a $10.8 million contract, Boston Dynamics is currently supplying Darpa with a set of humanoid robots named Atlas to participate in the Darpa Robotics Challenge, a two-year contest with a $2 million prize. The contestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goal is creating a class of robots that can operate in natural disasters and catastrophes like the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Competitions like the Darpa Robotics Challenge stretch participants to try to solve problems that matter and we hope to learn from the teamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ insights around disaster relief,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Rubin said in a statement released by Google.
Boston Dynamics has also designed robots that can climb walls and trees as well as other two- and four-legged walking robots, a neat match to Mr. RubinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s notion that Ã¢â‚¬Å“computers are starting to sprout legs and move around in the environment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mr. Rubin has called his robotics effort a Ã¢â‚¬Å“moonshot,Ã¢â‚¬Â but has declined to describe specific products that might come from the project. He has, however, also said that he does not expect initial product development to go on for years, indicating that Google commercial robots of some nature could be available in the next several years.
Google declined to say how much it paid for its newest robotics acquisition and said that it did not plan to release financial information on any of the other companies it has recently bought.[signoff predefined=”Enjoy this?” icon=”icon-users”][/signoff]Via
We track anonymized user information to improve our website.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies and processing. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. Not allowing some types of cookies may impact your experience of our Services and what we are able to offer.
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
Preference cookies enable a website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in. Loss of the information stored in a preference cookie may make the website experience less functional but should not prevent it from working.
This cookie enable us to detect the country of which you are visiting from.
These cookies may be set through our Services by our partners. Some have functional purposes such as capping the number of times you see an ad within a short span of time, but most, through uniquely identifying your browser and the device you use to access our Services and the processing of other information, will build a profile of your interests and show you ads more relevant to them, inferred from your browsing activity. If you do not allow these cookies, you will still receive ads but they will be less targeted and less likely to be relevant to your interests.