Google (GOOG) has acquired eight robotics companies in a move to expand its growing arsenal of technology that will help it continue to push the frontiers of development.
The acquisitions will be merged into a new robotics division within Google, led by Andy Rubin, the man who oversaw Google’s development of the mobile operating system Android.
Google Inc. added more pieces to its growing toolbox of robotics late last week with the purchase of Boston Dynamics, a military contractor that has raised intrigue by releasing videos of its inventions in recent years. Those inventions include a four-legged robot capable of galloping past Olympian sprinters and a jumping contraption that can leap onto tall buildings. Another video of a creepy-looking four-footed machine has been watched more than 15 million times since it was posted on Google’s YouTube site five years ago.
Besides designing animal-like robots, Boston Dynamics also has been working on humanoids as part of a $10.8 million contract with the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
It’s not the first big move from online companies into the robotics realm.
Amazon (AMZN) announced earlier this month that it was experimenting with using drones to help with quick delivery of packages through a service the company is calling Prime Air.
The aircraft, which AMZN is alling octocopters, will pick up packages at Amazon’s fulfillment centers and deliver items to customers within 30 minutes or less. Of course, while the idea is grand, seeing success with Prime Air could take years.
But it’s pushing the boundaries of technological development that would certainly be a boom for AMZN stock.
While likely not completely worrying about GOOG stock, the move into robotics will give Google an edge as more technology companies experiment with robotics and humanoid development.
[The purchase has already] led to speculation in the media that Google hopes to build robots that would automate manufacturing and distribution center jobs currently handled by humans. Other possibilities include housekeeping robots or automated caretakers for the elderly.
With driverless cars and Google Glass on the horizon, the future is certainly becoming clearer for the online giant.
GOOG stock is up 51% year to date.