Toyota, it seems, are the new owners of Google’s robotics division, Boston Dynamics. The deal, however, has not been confirmed by either Google or Toyota while the financial terms are under wraps.
Amazon has been the other prime contender for the deal though Boston Dynamics eventually landed up with Toyota, that privy to the issue is believed to have told Tech Insider.
Toyota’s buyout of Boston Dynamics is also seen as a friendly deal considering several engineers associated with the Japanese car maker’s artificial intelligence and robotics divisions have spent time at Boston Dynamics at some part of their career.
Further, robotics might seem a bit too far-fetched for a car maker to venture into though it still does make sense. As Japan emerging as a nation for the elderly, there sure is an emerging market for intelligent humanoids to assist the senior citizens. And Toyota no doubt is eager to be in a position to cash in on the craze once that happens.
Toyota also recently acquired the Cambridge-based start-up Jaybridge Robotics as well.
As for Boston Robotics, the company has acquired a name for itself thanks to series of biped and four-legged robots it has come up with, some with the amazing ability to mimic human behaviour. It has been primarily focussed to cater to the needs of the military, which in turn is also projected to be the prime area of friction with Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
When Google purchased Boston Dynamics in 2013, the aim was to create simple robots to cater to human requirements at large, something that would be more befitting to Google’s core principles. The search giant perhaps wanted something on wheels while Boston Dynamics preferred dealing with legged robots.
The exit of Andy Rubin who played a crucial role in giving shape to the robotic division within Google is also a blow to the venture. The separate groups that formed Replicant eventually fell apart and lost their group identity.
Amazon, on the other hand, is also believed to have invested heavily in developing smart robots to assist in its warehouse activities or product management, one reason the online retail giant has evinced interest in buying Boston Dynamics.