Google has purchased Boston Dynamics, an engineering company behind futuristic robots that focus on mobility, agility, dexterity and speed, according to The New York Times. The acquisition has since been confirmed by Google, which refused to give a buying price.
The acquisition of Boston Dynamics, a spin-off company from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, makes for the eighth robotics company Google has acquired in the last half year. It's not clear what futuristic technology Google has planned for its robotic arm, which is being led by former Android boss Andy Rubin.
Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics' robots look like they're out of movies. One of the company's robots, called BigDog, can handle ice and snow. Furthermore, the Cheetah can reach 29 mile-per-hours (faster than Usain Bolt), and the PETMAN looks like a human and functions as a soldier that stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.
Currently within Google, Rubin is focusing on robots for manufacturing purposes. 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 told The New York Times, 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."
Boston Dynamics will honour its existing military contracts. However, The New York Times says Google doesn't plan to continue the contracts or pursue more once they're over.
"I am excited by Andy and Google's ability to think very, very big, with the resources to make it happen," Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said.