Pin It

So why is Google suddenly so interested in robots? That's the question everyone's asking after it emerged this month that the internet giant has quietly amassed a portfolio of eight advanced-robotics firms. Google is describing the venture as partly a long term "moonshot" project – the name given to its more outlandish or ambitious ideas, such as its self-driving car or broadband via high-altitude balloons. But it also says it aims to launch a raft of robotics products in the short term.

Based in the US and Japan, the new acquisitions make diverse products, ranging from walking humanoids, to many-legged, animal-like packhorses for the military, to assembly robots, machine-vision systems and robotic special-effects movie cameras. Are they creating a cloud-powered humanoid who uses Google Glass? A line of robot pets? Or just a more efficient warehouse robot?

Andy Rubin isn't saying. He runs Google's new robotics division in Palo Alto, California, and pioneered Google's Android smartphone platform. He will only say that there will be a clutch of initial products but also that Google has a "10-year vision" of where the company is headed.

To read more, click here.