It’s been a little over two years since Google (now Alphabet) decided to scoop up robotics lab Boston Dynamics. Now it’s putting the company that built terrifying robots like BigDog and Atlas up for grabs.
Bloomberg reports unnamed sources who say that Google parent Alphabet is giving up on Boston Dynamics. 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 started by since departed executive Andy Rubin, and has now been folded into Google’s advance research group.
Possible acquirers as reported by Bloomberg include Amazon.com, Google and Toyota Research Institute (whose program research CEO 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 US 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.