Boston Dynamics, known as a maker of military robotics systems such as the humanoid Atlas and the quadrupedal Legged Squad Support System, has become part of Google. The company joins seven other robotics firms that Google has acquired in the past six months, according to CNN.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, nor did Google reveal its intentions for Boston Dynamics and the other firms, but Andy Rubin, who led the development of the Android platform for smart phones, is reportedly leading the push.
While Google is playing coy, speculation is rampant. “The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care,” wrote John Markoff in the New York Times.
In defense circles, Boston Dynamics is best known for its work with DARPA in fielding prototypes such as Atlas, a man-shaped metal frame standing more than six feet tall and weighing 330 pounds. Atlas is “essentially a physical shell for the software brains and nerves under development by a variety of teams” that took part in DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge this summer, according to an earlier C4ISR report.