Japan’s Soft Bank are the new owners of Boston Dynamics. Google’s parent company Alphabet announced having sealed the deal with the Japanese technology firm though the exact terms of the same are being kept under wraps for now.
Boston Dynamics used to be the pride of Alphabet once though its fortunes have been on the decline ever since Andy Rubin left the firm. Also referred to as the father of Android, Rubin has been actively pushing his robotics ambitions as long as he has been at the helm of affairs at the firm.
Rubin is also credited to have led an acquisition spree that saw not only the acquisition of Boston Dynamics but several other tech or robotics firms. That included the Japanese robotics company Schaft, which again will eventually come under the control of the Soft Bank.
Soft Bank justified the acquisition claiming robotics and artificial intelligence to be the most sought after technology segments in future in the increasingly digitized world of tomorrow. However, the same didn’t quite match Google’s portfolio of products and services that has sort of a mass appeal. Also, much of what Google does is focussed on increasing its primary revenue source, that of advertisement.
Robots, no matter how advanced or capable those might be didn’t quite match those parameters. There was even a time when Google had reportedly told Boston Dynamics to focus on robots that could serve the people at large, instead of playing a niche role. The Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet, Ruth Porat had earlier in 2016 trimmed down the high-flying robotic projects of Boston Dynamics.
Google had even envisioned using Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robots to deliver mails and packages to individual’s homes. The concept was being pursued during the end of last year though not much came out of it. That the sight of a creepy four-legged robot moving around town would have made for a frightening proposition is another matter though.
Meanwhile, Boston Dynamics had also received DARPA funding for creating advanced robots that would be capable of traversing even difficult terrain while carrying some load. Some of its most prolific creations include the Atlas and BigDog robots.
Among its most recent development include Handle, a bipedal robot having sort of wheeled legs capable of jumping and advanced obstacle avoidance techniques. However, almost all of its creations have one thing in common; they can give you the creeps like none other.
With Boston Dynamics under its lap, Soft Bank has emerged one of the biggest players in the robotics and AI segment.