Google buys Boston Dynamics

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Google has bought an eighth — and highly impressive — robotics company to add to its existing stable: military-affiliated Boston Dynamics, creator of BigDog.

(Credit: Boston Dynamics/Google)

For the last six months, Google has been buying up big in the field of robotics, with seven startups snapped up under its new robotics division, led by Android head of development Andy Rubin. We never doubted that Google was serious about whatever it's doing — but with the acquisition of Boston Dynamics for an undisclosed sum on Friday, Google has demonstrated that it's running with the big dogs.

Boston Dynamics, known for its BigDog all-terrain robots and Atlas humanoid robots, has worked extensively with US military research body Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and its robots have demonstrated highly advanced balance and speed.

Google is keeping quiet about what it plans to do with Boston Dynamics, but signs point to non-military applications. Google told the New York Times that, while it planned to honour existing military contracts, it was not planning to forge any more.

Rubin also noted that consumers could expect to see a Google robotics product within the next few years.

The seven other robotics companies Google has acquired are Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Holomni, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics and Schaft. With Boston Dynamics, Google has added the global leader in walking robots.

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