At the beginning of this week, we reported that Amazon had introduced flying “drones” as a publicity stunt for their Cyber Monday sales, which Jeff Bezos said he would like to use as a genuine delivery service in the future.
Being that their most popular product has both the name and image of Android, it isn’t that surprising that Google would have it in their mind to create robots. What is more unexpected is how far they have already gone in developing them.
In the past six months, Google secretly bought up seven different technology companies involved in various forms of robotic creation and automation. Then they quietly began projects in the field.
Heading this effort is Andy Rubin, who originally engineered Google’s Android software. He has been working with two small offices of staff on designing practical robots that could be applied to manufacturing processes.
So far, there are no plans on creating consumer aimed robots.
The fact that they are announcing this now, just days after Amazon gave news of their own experiments, isn’t a coincidence. It may also be a sign that Google plans on creating a project for delivery as well as factory work, perhaps as part of their equally experimental Google Shopping delivery service in select neighborhoods around the US.
Either way, this is not a dream that is going to be coming true any time soon. At least not in any more than as small steps.
Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor, Mr. Rubin explained, admitting it is a project far from reaching even its first milestones.
We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.
But let’s be honest here: if any company would be the first to come out with such robots, Google seems the most likely candidate. They have the means, the money, the time, the talent, the reputation and certainly the innovation. The corporation has already spanning into a frighteningly powerful conglomerate from its humble beginnings just fifteen years ago.
Though Google robots are not something real yet, the heat is now officially on. Other companies aren’t likely to wait around while their biggest foe is designing robots. I expect us to hear from Apple and Samsung any day now, with their own plans for the iRobot and Galaxy Cyberman.
Source: NY Times