It’s been a little over two years since Google (now Alphabet) decided to add robotics lab Boston Dynamics to its portfolio. Now it’s putting the company that built Atlas up for grabs.
Bloomberg reports unnamed sources who say that Google parent Alphabet is giving up on Boston Dynamics, the company that make terrifying and incredible robots like BigDog, Atlas and others. Some speculate the move could be part of Alphabet’s larger restructuring efforts being at odds with the long runway necessary to build the future of robotics. The larger division which Boston Dynamics was a part of within Google — Replicant — was folded into Google’s advance research group.
Possible acquirers as reported by Bloomberg include Amazon.com Inc, and Toyota Research Institute (whose program research CEO was once ran DARPA’s robotics challenge).
From the very beginning, it was odd that Google was interested in acquiring a company that’s effectively designing war robots for the government, and indeed, as Bloomberg points out that Google was keenly aware that there was a negative public perception of the bots. This coupled with the long-term challenges in bringing a robot like this to market just proved too much.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment on the possible sale. [Bloomberg]