It doesn’t look like the robot revolution will be coming from Google after all. Rumours have begun circulating that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is looking to sell Boston Dynamics in a retreat from robotics research.
The new structure at Alphabet put some pressure on Google’s former robotics division, which was referred to as Replicant. Most of the division has been folded into the new Alphabet’s X division for moonshot projects, although Boston Dynamics was left out of the deal.
Leaked internal emails suggest that a large portion of the problems at Replicant were due to Boston Dynamics refusing to work with anyone else. A quote from founder Marc Raibert indicates that the company believed that its work had the best chance of producing a viable product. The leadership at Alphabet doesn’t seem to share the view, and thinks that Boston Dynamics will be unable to come up with a marketable product within the next few years.
There doesn’t appear to be any buyers for Boston Dynamics, although it has been suggested that the company could be sold to the Toyota Research Institute or Amazon. Neither company has commented on the rumours, although Amazon looks like a possible destination for one of the most notable robotics companies in the world.