The exact purpose of the new robotics group, led by Andy Rubin, is still a secret
Google has revealed it is building robots for internal operations under the leadership of Andy Rubin, formerly responsible for Android OS.
According to the New York Times, the company has acquired seven robotics manufacturers over the past six months, including a team from Japan that specialises in bipedal designs.
The exact purpose of the new robotics group, headquartered in Palo Alto, is unknown. The newspaper speculates that the technology could find applications in manufacturing and retail, possibly package delivery.
Late last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company was testing package delivery using airborne drones with a view to launching an Amazon Prime Air service sometime around 2018.
Rise of the machines
Rubin has confirmed the existence of the project and his involvement, but refused to elaborate on what exactly the company is planning to do with its robots. According to Rubin, who owns seventeen patents, the new project is expected to run for a decade and include both hardware and software development.
To support its efforts, over the past half a year Google has covertly bought seven companies: Autofuss, Bit & Dolly, Holomni, Industrial Perception, Redwood Robotics, MIT spin-off Meka Robotics and Tokyo-based Schaft. Rubin said more acquisitions could be coming in the future.
So you can get the idea of how advanced some of this technology is, we have embedded a video that showcases the Bot & Dolly robotic arms below.
One possible application for Google’s robots could have them delivering packages using self-driving cars. The company has recently launched a same-day grocery delivery service in San Francisco and San Jose, called Google Shopping Express.
Just as Google Glass has prompted the rapid development of wearable computing and exposed its drawbacks, robots from the company could popularise the technology and bring it into mainstream, as well as sparking debate. As long as it’s not controlled by a centralised system called Skynet.
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