Andy Rubin has gone from leading Android OS to engineering droids at Google.
Rubin confirmed in an interview with The New York Times that he is now spearheading a robotics division at Google. It's a new project considered to be one of Google's long-term "moonshot" programs. Other moonshot ideas from Google have included self-driving cars and Google Glass.
Google has bought seven robotics companies as of late to get the upper-hand in the droid space, though don't expect a Rosie from The Jetsons-like robot any time soon. Rubin is simply focusing on robots for manufacturing purposes at the moment. That's a plausible goal, too. Manufacturing is an industry where current robots can do everything from welding to precise placing of parts.
"Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor. We need enough runway and a 10-year vision," Rubin said, noting that the project is lengthy because it involves both hardware and software development. "We're building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack."
Larry Page, CEO of Google, shared The New York Times article on his Google+ profile and gushed about Rubin's moonshot endeavour despite the decade-long wait. "His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets," Page wrote. "It is still very early days for this, but I can't wait to see the progress."
Rubin's announcement comes just a few days after Amazon and UPS made headlines, revealing they are working on aerial drones for speedy parcel delivery. This recent interest in bots suggests many major companies are looking beyond computers-for-pockets and really thinking about automatons as a useful technology for consumers.
Still, we've only just heard about plans and dreams. Product stages are a long way away and might not ever come to fruition. But it's nice to imagine all the possibilities while we wait.