Google confirmed to the New York Times late last week they have acquired military robot-maker, Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics is know for producing military-grade robots with animal-like capabilities. Including a robot, aptly named Cheetah, that can outrun Usain Bolt, and a robot name Sandflea that can jump more than nine metres into the air.
Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics marks the eighth robotics company purchased by Google in the past six months. The company’s role in the future of Google products is currently unknown.
Google’s Andy Rubin, developer of the Android operating system, has been leading Google towards the field of robotics. When news of the acquisition broke, Rubin publicly remarked on Twitter that “the future is looking awesome!” Clearly the people at Google are excited about the potential of what Boston Dynamics’ technology brings to the table.
Boston Dynamics works with the U.S. military to develop advanced robots and has close ties with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boston Dynamics won nearly $140 million in contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense since 2000, according to the USASpending.gov website. Including a freshly inked contract for $10.8 million that Google intends to honor.
With this acquisition coming at a time when companies are experimenting with robots to deliver services, such as the Amazon’s drones, one can speculate that Google is working on building its own class of autonomous systems.
To see what the team at Boston Dynamics is capable of watch this clip of WildCat, a robot of theirs that debuted earlier this year: