If Amazon plans to deliver packages via drones, how far behind can Google be? Earlier we have seen Google materializing many of its projects like Google Glass, autonomous car or Project Loon. And now the company has said it’s testing a whole fleet of humanoid robots for various purposes.
Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired 7 technology companies – Schaft, Industrial Perception Inc, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, Holomni – in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones. However, Google’s robotics effort is not something aimed at consumers, at least for now. Rather, according to several people with specific knowledge of the project, the company’s expected targets are in manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing.
Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business said, “The opportunity is massive. There are still people who walk around in factories and pick things up in distribution centers and work in the back rooms of grocery stores.”
No doubt, like Amazon, Google also plans to utilize robots for handling and transferring its products from its factories to the ship to the consumer’s doorstep. That means, it’s not too far when we’ll see robots giving home delivery services of Google and manage some ‘human’ elements of manufacturing processes of the company.
Rubin has mentioned that issues like mobility of the robots, prosthetic movement have come a long way, but there is still work to be done in terms of the software of the Androids and the sensors employed. Rubin has also mentioned that more companies will be pursued in Google’s quest.