Image: Pixar

From Android to Androids? Google’s Next “Moonshot” Is Robotics

on Wednesday, Dec. 4th

The one thing that no one can accuse Google of is thinking small. Over the past year a vision of the future–one that is looking more like something from the 1950’s than the dystopian cyberpunk reality we’ve living in now–has emerged from the Silicon Valley giant.

First it was the announcement of Calico, a company that is going to take on aging-related illnesses. This was interpreted broadly, if a bit facetiously, as Google taking on Death himself.

The latest “moonshot” project? Robots. As told by the New York Times:

Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones.

Just don’t expect a robot butler any time soon.

The robotics project is not being aimed at consumers. Not yet, anyway.

At least for now, Google’s robotics effort is not something aimed at consumers. Instead, the company’s expected targets are in manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing, according to several people with specific knowledge of the project.

If you’re really interested in the details of what kind of robotics companies Google has acquired, and if any of them might be Cyberdine Systems itself, VentureBeat’s Ricardo Bilton has the breakdown.


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