Google’s foray into robotics continues with acquisition of Boston Dynamics

14 Dec 2013

Pictured: Boston Dynamics' Wildcat in action - the robot can outrun most humans at 16MPH

Just weeks after appointing former Android boss Andy Rubin as head of its new robotics division, internet giant Google has added Boston Dynamics to its coterie of recently acquired robotics firms.

Boston Dynamics is a Massachusetts-based engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon.

This includes a four-legged robot called WildCat, which can run faster than most humans.

Google has has already bought several robotics companies in the past few months, including Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, Schaft, Industrial Perception and Holomni.

The acceleration of Google’s robotics buying spree and the appointment of Andy Rubin – credited with the success of Android, now the most popular mobile OS on the planet and installed on 80pc of smartphones – as head of robotics demonstrates Google’s drive and ambition to conquer this fascinating space.

Boston Dynamics, a company founded in 1992, has built robots for DARPA.

Interestingly, the internet as we know it was an offshoot of research from DARPA.

Robots are set to become big business in the coming years, likely to feature in a variety of communications, fitness and healthcare applications. And let’s not forget aerial drones can be considered robots in their own right and already Amazon is planning to rig them to be used to deliver products to Amazon Prime customers in the next three to five years.

A video posted by Boston Dynamics on YouTube in October featured the WildCat that has attracted 15m downloads so far. Resembling something from the Terminator movies the robot I capable of galloping at speeds of 16 miles per hour.



John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years