Not to be outdone by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s fleet of drones, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has revealed that it is hard at work on its own robot army. The IT giant has acquired seven robotic companies and put Android-lead Andy Rubin in charge of its new automation project, reports Mat Smith for Engadget. The robotics project is aimed at high level automation that can take over complex but repetitive tasks.
Rubin, who has worked in robotics in the past, says that we shouldn’t expect to see big results soon. “You have to think of time as a factor,” said Rubin. “We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.” And even when they do start to release products, they don’t have any plans for consumer robots.
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Scale hints that this is more than a side project
Google is famous for starting lots of side projects to test out new ideas and test the waters for new projects, often shutting them down once internal goals are met, even if they’re successful. But the scale of the acquisitions indicate that this isn’t a trial run for something Google might want to do in the future. Over the last six months Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, and Holomni, reports Liz Gannes for AllThingsD, and apparently Rubin is on the lookout for more.
Google founders have big ambitions
For a company that is still defined by its dominance in search, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have shown themselves to have big ambitions. Page announced in September that he had started a new project called Calico that is intended to dramatically extend people’s life spans. While it doesn’t get talked about much outside of the tech sector, both projects sound like Google’s founders are trying to get to the singularity as soon as possible (the idea, believed by many people in Silicon Valley and hardly anyone else, that technology is advancing so rapidly that humans will soon ‘beat death’), since advanced robotics and AI are supposed to be part of the equation.
In the meantime, look out for more humble advances to come out of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s new robotics projects, such as intelligent assembly systems and highly automated factory systems.