Google Buys Seven Robotics Companies in Past Six Months to Develop Capabilities

Source: New York Times, Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013

Google bought seven robotics companies in the past six months in an effort to create manufacturing and logistics robots under former head of Android at Google Andy Rubin. The companies were: Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss and Holomni.

The New York Times says Rubin’s aims are not at creating robots for consumers, but in manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with Amazon in retailing. Google has recently started experimenting with package delivery in urban areas with its Google Shopping service, and it could try to automate portions of that system. The service is already making home deliveries for companies like Target, Walgreens and American Eagle. 

Unlike Google’s futuristic X lab, which does research on things like driverless cars and the wearable Google Glass device, the robotics effort is meant to sell products sooner rather than later.