Google Acquires Military Robotics Firm

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has bought up a firm that makes animal-like robots for the US military. It's all part of Google's plan to become more involved in the robotics industry.

The company in question is Boston Dynamics, a contractor for the Pentagon. The company has worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a government organization that works on some outlandish projects -- such as making a robot that can outrun Olympic champion Usain Bolt.

In the past Boston Dynamics has focused on producing technology that assists military officials fighting in harsh territory against enemies who don't necessarily have strength in numbers, but rely on unconventional tactics and knowledge of the local area.

Dogs, Cheetahs Among Firm's Robot Force

Among Boston Dynamics's creations is "BigDog", a four-legged armored robot that can move in a quick and agile way while carrying heavy equipment.

The firm also builds the "Cheetah" robot, another four-legged device that can run at 29 miles per hour -- far faster than most human beings. The company believes further refinement could increase that speed to 40 mph.

The company has even created a human-style robot that walks upright but, like a human being, can use its hands for balance. It's designed to help in rescue and surveillance missions. (Source:

Google Robots to Deliver Groceries?

The purchase is the first major announcement of its type since the news broke that Andy Rubin, the man who oversaw development of Google's Android operating system, has now moved to a new Google project.

Rubin is reportedly working on robots for use in industrial and manufacturing settings. The idea is to come up with machinery for every conceivable purpose, from working on assembly lines to delivering goods to stores and customers. (Source:

Although such technology already exists, Google is exploring the idea of using a common computer system across various robotic platforms.

That could make it more efficient and much easier to track how individual components are used, in turn making life easier if a batch of parts is discovered to be faulty and products have to be recalled.

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