As the newly minted startup columnist for Robotics Business Review, I’ve been out beating the streets for some of the coolest, most interesting robotics startups out there. In the course of my reporting, I recently heard a rumor about a new Andy Rubin-led robotics venture within Google, which was confirmed in a New York Times article by John Markoff.
Under the leadership of Rubin, the former Android head, the company has acquired at least seven robotics startups—and sources tell me that at least two more companies are in the pipeline. Rumors suggest that DARPA-darling Boston Dynamics—which has demonstrated a wide range of robotic systems—could be on the list of potential acquisitions, but employees at the company declined to comment.
As nearly all of the industry watchers agree, Google’s big revenue opportunities are clearly linked to logistics and manufacturing. But it seems just as likely that the robotics technologies that the company has been snapping up will play an important role in many projects throughout the sprawling organization. Google, like many others, may be simply placing a bet that the future of computing is inextricably linked with hardware and physical goods.