Google buys its eighth robotics company this year with Boston Dynamics acquisition

By Danny Palmer
16 Dec 2013 View Comments
bigdog-snow

Google has bought Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that specialises in building "dynamic" robots and software for human simulation.

The company, which fulfils contracts for the US armed forces, has produced a variety of battlefield robots. Models include WildCat, a four legged robot capable of running across rough terrain at high-speed, and BigDog, a larger robot capable of picking up and throwing debris, including breeze blocks.

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The Boston Dynamics acquisition marks the eighth robotics company purchase by Google this year, although Google remains vague about what exactly it plans to do with its "army" of robotics acquisitions. 

No information about the price and size of the deal has been made public, but Boston Dynamics will continue to fulfil its contractual obligations to the Pentagon, despite the new ownership by Google.

Google's robotics efforts are led by Andy Rubin, the executive who played a key role in the development of Android software, which has now become the most used mobile operating system in the world.

In a post made via Google Plus earlier this month, Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page voiced his enthusiasm for his company's interest in robotics, citing Rubin's previous success with Android.

"I am excited about Andy Rubin's next 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, but I can't wait to see the progress," he said

Boston Dynamics was founded in in 1992 by Dr Marc Raibert a former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is considered by many to be "the father of robotics" in the US.

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