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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is shutting down its subsidiary Everyday Robots, according to reporting from Wired.
On January 20, 2023, Alphabet announced it would be laying off around 12,000 workers, 6% of its workforce, and Everyday Robots is one of the few projects disbanded as part of the budget cuts. Some of the technology and part of the Everyday Robots team will be consolidated into existing robotics projects within Google Research, Denise Gamboa, director of marketing and communications for Everyday Robots, told Wired.
The company graduated from Alphabet’s X moonshot lab just over a year ago. The company taught over a hundred wheeled, one-armed robots to clean cafeteria tables, separate trash from recycling and open doors.
Everyday Robots wanted to create flexible and adaptable robots that could be used outside of industrial environments. The company’s first prototype was unveiled in 2021, and in 2022, it was upgraded with Google’s AI language research to allow them to process natural language commands.
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While the company had ambitious goals for its robots, they didn’t seem to ever make the commercialization stage even a decade after Alphabet acquired the company, although the robots did do some cleaning around Alphabet’s offices. Some of Alphabet’s other moonshot projects, like Loon, which created internet-beaming balloons, have already shut down for this very reason.
Other previous moonshot projects, like Wing, a drone grocery delivery company, and Waymo, an autonomous driving company, still appear to be going strong. At the end of last year, Waymo announced that it would be expanding its service area in both San Francisco and Phoenix.
According to Wired‘s reporting, a former employee from Everyday Robots said that the company struggled to determine the company’s mission. The team couldn’t decide if they were aiming for an advanced research project or a commercially viable product.
Everyday Robots employed over 200 people, and Alphabet did not give any details about how many of those employees, or which, would be staying on with the company.