Google’s Reported Big-Name Robotics Friend: Foxconn

Google has shown its interest in robotics for nearly a year, but in December a series of acquisitions and announcements made it clear that robots would play a major role in the company's future. While the Chinese tech manufacturer Foxconn has historically been known as one of Apple's key partners, it is now working on a robotics project with Google, according to a news report.

While the partnership will likely work both ways, Foxconn has reportedly been looking to increase productivity in its factories with the help of robots. Sources close to the two companies told The Wall Street Journal that Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met recently with Google executive Andy Rubin in Taipei to discuss new robotics technologies. Since Google is already working on industrial robots, Foxconn has turned to the tech company for help boost its manufacturing capabilities.

Rising Costs

The need for industrial automation in China has grown exponentially in recent years. Despite the country's reputation for low wages, progress in China has led to a steady increase in pay requirements for factory workers, meaning that machines are becoming a better option for Foxconn, one of the largest tech manufacturers in the world.

Exports from China have continued to grow despite the year-over-year wage increases, but some technology companies have already begun to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. now that the difference in cost is less substantial. While it does seem plausible that more companies will return factories to North America, a growth in robotics in Asia may still allow countries like China to control the industry.

Taking Over

Robots have already been used in some industries for years. In the automotive sector, automation is present in every factory tasked with the building of cars. Other sectors, namely those dealing with electronics, are now beginning to see automation...

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