News / Science & Technology

Google Quietly Amassing Robotic Know-How

Robot guitarist "Mach" and robot drummer "Ashura" (L), members of a robot rock band "Z-Machines", perform music during the two day art and technology event "Maker Faire Tokyo."Robot guitarist "Mach" and robot drummer "Ashura" (L), members of a robot rock band "Z-Machines", perform music during the two day art and technology event "Maker Faire Tokyo."
Robot guitarist "Mach" and robot drummer "Ashura" (L), members of a robot rock band "Z-Machines", perform music during the two day art and technology event "Maker Faire Tokyo."
Robot guitarist "Mach" and robot drummer "Ashura" (L), members of a robot rock band "Z-Machines", perform music during the two day art and technology event "Maker Faire Tokyo."

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VOA News
With all the fanfare about Amazon’s plan for robotic delivery drones, tech giant -- and Amazon rival -- Google has been quietly amassing a lot of robotic expertise.

According to an article in the New York Times, Google has acquired seven technology companies with prowess in various aspects of robotics.

Adding to the speculation that Google is dead serious about robotics, the company has put Andy Rubin in charge of the effort. He was in charge of Google’s popular Android operating system.

While Google has been coy about the type of robots it’s looking to develop, one possibility would be something that could deliver goods to consumers’ doors, like Amazon’s drones. Instead of through the air, however, Google would make the deliveries via self-driving cars, something the company has already been working on.

Google has already begun to experiment with a grocery delivery service in the Bay Area of California called Google Shopping Express.

The Times reports that Google’s robotics team will be headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with an office in Japan, one of the leading countries in the field.

Rubin told the Times the company had a “10-year vision” to deliver on its robotics vision.

"I feel with robotics it's a green field," he said. "We're building hardware, we're building software. We're building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack."

The companies Google has acquired are Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Holomni, Industrial Perception, Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics and Schaft.

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Comment Sorting
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, T-SITE
December 06, 2013 7:41 PM
Robotics are one of the most important technology for our future. We need to understand that the technologis of the robotics are not only mean human-like robots but also mean very sophisticated automation technologies.

The drones are good examples. Nobody has never thought that they would become useful technology for our daily life.

by: editor-b from: palam
December 05, 2013 11:00 AM
Then, step by step, Google by Amazon, is the human future, inevitably, the direct and full-time relation with an intelligent machine? A sort of tech-priest who interferes between God and mankind, between nature and human beings and between human beings themselves? That is, will a machine be the whole environment, a virtual playground? If so, will human beings return to this new technological mother womb, inside mechanical egg-dresses? However, what is the relationship in which a machine cannot take part or channel at all?

Why won't the future automatons be alive? What is the fundamental difference between a peculiar and mechanical structure that imitates life and life itself? Is there any, virtual or real? Can materialistic and mechanical points of view be overcome? Anyway, if machines take over all human activity, including art and science, what will happen to the organic body and its conditioned-to-work-and-think brain? Surely, will it decay? Is man-machine coexistence possible while people is fighting for jobs and resources: competition, nations, and so on? If one wants to go on questioning, there is more like that in a highly recommended b-book, take a look in a sample in If you feel like a humble organic machine

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