Alphabet To Sell Robotics Subsidiary Boston Dynamics

Google is exiting the robot business -- at least until it becomes a little more lucrative. The tech giant?EU?s parent company, Alphabet, is reportedly looking to sell Boston Dynamics, the firm's robotics subsidiary, because it?EU?s not currently showing enough revenue potential.

At this point, potential buyers include Amazon and the Toyota Research Institute, a division of the automaker, according to a report from Bloomberg. For its part, Amazon already has a robotics branch, Amazon Robotics, that was formed after the company bought warehouse robot maker Kiva Systems for $775 million four years ago.

Affordable Robots

Google bought Boston Dynamics in 2013 to establish itself in the robotics field. Google?EU?s initial goal was to put together a group of engineers to develop low-cost robots for the consumer market. That initiative, called Replicant, failed in the wake of leadership changes and a difficult process of integrating the staff of the two companies.

Alphabet?EU?s current leadership doesn?EU?t have sufficient faith that its robotics subsidiary will be able to bring a viable product to market any time in the next several years, according to reports.

The friction underlying the robotics division came to light when internal e-mail exchanges and meeting notes were posted on a Google corporate online forum. Someone within the company forwarded the documents to Bloomberg.

Scary Robots

In one of the e-mails leaked to the media, an executive cautioned her colleagues about the possible negative reaction to a clip Boston Dynamics put online in February that depicted Atlas, a humanoid robot developed by the company. The video of Atlas (pictured above), which has 28 hydraulically actuated degrees of freedom along with such human anatomical components as arms, legs and a torso, frightened as many viewers as it excited.

"We're also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans' jobs,"...

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