In December, 2013 Google acquired robotics lab – Boston Dynamics. After a little over two years, Google has decided to sell Boston Dynamics, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Boston Dynamics has worked with the US military, DARPA, and several other firms on various robotics projects. The company has made its name by fascinating and terrifying robotics industry watchers with the robots that can walk, run, jump, and remain upright when kicked and pushed by humans.
Over the years, the robotics company has posted several videos documenting its research progress, including LS3 – A rough-terrain robot. Recently, the company demonstrated Atlas, a humanoid prototype that carried boxes in a warehouse and walked successfully through snowy terrain.
This recent video by Boston Dynamics with more than 14 million views was entertaining, but at the same time it was thought-provoking and prompted conflicting responses among people. According to the Bloomberg report, the video of Atlas also caused additional debate inside Alphabet.
Courtney Hohne, Google X spokeswoman, wrote in an email to Bloomberg:
“There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs.” Courtney Hohne went on to ask her colleagues to “distance X from this video.”
She also wrote:
“We don’t want to trigger a whole separate media cycle about where BD really is at Google. We’re not going to comment on this video because there’s really not a lot we can add, and we don’t want to answer most of the Qs it triggers.”
Who will acquire the Boston Dynamics?
According to the report, Amazon and Toyota are the potential acquirers of Boston Dynamics. Both the companies have a good reason to acquire the company. Amazon may be interested because it is reportedly working on its own robotics project and acquiring the Google’s robotic division can be helpful for its huge distribution network.
Toyota has also been working on robotics technology that helps the elderly to walk. By acquiring Boston Dynamics, the company can accelerate its research.
What are the possible reasons Google is selling Boston Dynamics?
The reports indicated that there was a lack of collaboration with Alphabet’s other robotics researchers. It also documented disagreement regarding the commercial viability of the BD’s research.
According to Jonathan Rosenberg, the chief of robotics after Rubin left the company wanted a product that generates income as soon as possible. According to him, the company cannot spend more than 30% of the resources on things that can take more than ten years to generate income.
So, it seems that Google is selling Boston Dynamics because it wasn’t profitable or it thinks that the robots designed by the company were terrible and can take humans job in future.