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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Google Buys Military Robotics Company Boston Dynamics, Eighth Robotics Firm Bought in Past 6 Months

By End the Lie

The "Rex" robot shown off by Boston Dynamics for military personnel at the Army Robotics Rodeo at Ft. Benning on June 29, 2012 (Image credit: David Axe/Flickr)
The “Rex” robot shown off by Boston Dynamics for military personnel at the Army Robotics Rodeo at Ft. Benning on June 29, 2012 (Image credit: David Axe/Flickr)
Google is moving into the robotics field at a rapid pace, with eight robotics firms purchased in just 6 months, the latest being military robotics contractor Boston Dynamics.
Boston Dynamics is well known for their military robotics work, including many projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boston Dynamics has produced everything from remote controlled jumping cars to four-legged running robots (including the fastest one in the world) to humanoid robots and much more.
Google purchased the company for an unknown sum, according to The New York Times. The company also said they would not release financial information on any of the other companies they recently acquired.
While existing Boston Dynamics military contracts will be honored, Google reportedly “says it does not plan on becoming a military contractor on its own,” according to Gizmodo.
It remains unclear why Google has been pouring money into acquiring robotics companies over the past six months.
However, Google has recently been diversifying quite a bit. They have begun to fund life extension research with the company Calico and even electronic tattoos and stomach-acid powered password systems by Motorola.
Google’s robotics team is led by Andy Rubin, former head of Android. When Rubin was interviewed by The New York Times last week, he was not forthcoming about the company’s plans.
However, some people, who were described as having “specific knowledge of the project” Rubin is involved in, claim the robots will be used in manufacturing and retailing.
Yet Rubin said that he does not expect initial product development to go on for years, which the Times says indicates “that Google commercial robots of some nature could be available in the next several years.”
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