In a revealing NY Times interview with Google's Andy Rubin, some heretofor unknown things came to light: Google is now in the robotics business.
They've made eight acquisitions in the last six months to give them some talent and a head start. And they are as closed mouthed about their plans for their new robotics division as Google has been about everything else.
The most recent acquisition, also reported in the NY Times: Boston Dynamics of Big Dog, the cheeta and Atlas robot fame. This is not the purchase of a start-up. Boston Dynamics has 80+ engineers and scientists and a thriving ongoing business providing paid-for research and development of dynamic robots and software for human simulation.
In a follow-up story in the SF Chronicle, a bit more detail has come to the surface, particularly in relation to the artificial intelligence that powers robotic products, but also from a quote by Google's CEO Larry Page about Andy Rubin and his new project: “His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets. It is still very early days for this [new project], but I can't wait to see the progress.”
Apple's investing $11 billion in automation and robotics; Amazon is planning on half-hour drone deliveries and now Google has set up a Robotics Division. What's it all mean? Read this writer's opinion (updated to reflect Google's 8th acquisition).