The New York Times reveals that Andy Rubin is the Google engineer heading Google’s robotics efforts and spearheading the company’s efforts to revolutionize the use of robots in real-world applications.
The timing of the reveal seems too neat to be coincidental, as Amazon stole headlines and owned the post-holiday news cycle earlier this week with the announcement that it has been working on automated drone delivery for packages.
Rubin’s work at Google seems to have a similar thrust; the robotics advances his group at Google is working on will focus on the underserved manufacturing (supply chain) and logistics markets, Rubin told the NYT.
Related: Amazon Testing Drones Because Otherwise Drones Could Kill Amazon (Delivery)
It’s likely that some of the innovation Google is looking at is in shoring up the same kinds of deficiencies that UPS and FedEx may be exploring, like the transport method for shuttling goods from central depots to local sort and delivery facilities.
Related: UPS and FedEx Researching Delivery Drones That Could Compete With Amazon
But Google at the direction of Rubin has been quietly acquiring a number of robotics firms in the U.S. and Japan including Industrial Perception (computer vision); Schaft, Meka and Redwood Robotics (humanoid bot and bot limb builders); Bot & Dolly (robot camera makers involved in the film Gravity); Autofuss (advertising and design); and Holomni (design firm specializing in robot wheels).
There’s an awful lot of humanoid in that mix, which means Google is doing something more than improving on existing industrial robotics, which mostly bear no resemblance to their creators.
Google could make parts of the manufacturing process that involve simply carting goods from one place to another much more efficient with robotics, or it could attempt to streamline the process of getting a package from a supplier in Asia to a homemaker in Spokane.
Back when Rubin left his post at the head of Android, he sent a note to Android partners that said he’s an “entrepreneur at heart,” and was starting a “new chapter” within Google.
With this robotics project, he told the New York Times that it’s something he’s been considering for a decade, but it only recently has become commercially viable to build automated systems on the scale he envisioned.
SC24/7 on “Drones”
Email Sign Up
Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job.
Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7.
Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.