Google is selling Boston Dynamics, the YouTube-famous team known for its animal- and human-like robots that can move through rough terrain. The unit has been put up for sale as Google turns its attention away from robotics after showing a brief but strong interest in the technology just a few years ago.
Google purchased Boston Dynamics in 2013 as part of a major robotics technology shopping spree. At the time, Google was building a robotics division to be led by former Android boss Andy Rubin, but over the past couple of years, that unit has had its troubles. After Rubin left the company in 2014, its robotic units were plagued by Google’s inability to replace him, according to Bloomberg, which reported the sale of Boston Dynamics.
Since its acquisition by Google, Boston Dynamics has failed to mesh well with the company’s other robotic units. Additionally, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, concluded it was unlikely that the Massachusetts team would deliver a marketable product within the next couple of years, Bloomberg said.
Most recently, Boston Dynamics impressed its YouTube followers with videos of its two-legged androids. The videos show these human-like robots can keep their balance while walking outdoors, picking up boxes and opening doors.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Toyota Research Institute and Amazon.com, the online retailer, are both said to be interested in acquiring the robotics unit.