Google Sells Large Parts of its Robotics Division to SoftBank

Boston Dynamics has been quite the successful company over the past few years. Ever since Google bought the company, Boston Dynamics has made great advances in the world of robotics. That partnership has come to an end, though, as Google sold the company to SoftBank. It is unclear what this means for Google’s robotics plans, though.

SoftBank Wants to Build More Robots Now?

It is quite unusual to think of a company such as SoftBank to show an interest in robotics. Then again, the world of technology is filled with opportunities and surprises. The Japanese tech company is quite confident acquiring Boston Dynamics is a smart business decision, even though no one knows for sure what they will do with the company or its staffers. We have seen quite a few intriguing robotics being designed by the US company, that much is evident.

In fact, it appeared Boston Dynamics was making some major progress with their animal robots. Their Cheetah, for example, has taken the internet by storm. Unfortunately, it remains unclear if these projects will be continued or put on ice indefinitely. It would be rather sad to see these plans scrapped altogether, though. Then again, a new parent company often comes with a new set of plans.

The terms of this new acquisition remain unclear to this very day as well. It is a big mystery how much SoftBank paid for this acquisition, albeit it seems safe to assume it will come with quite the price tag. SoftBank will also pick up Schaft, a smaller humanoid robotics group acquired by Google right before they took over Boston Dynamics. To some people, this seems as if Google is killing off its entire robotics division.

It is not the first time the name Boston Dynamics comes up in relation to an acquisition, though. Despite Google acquiring the company, they have been looking to sell it off since March of 2016. At that time, the parent company was struggling to commercialize the robots, while costs for research and development continued to mount. One can only throw so much money at a project before it needs to start paying off. As results remained unachievable, selling the company to another party seems to be the best idea.

Moreover, one has to keep in mind the objective of Google’s robotics decision was mere speculation rather than a clear business plan. Ever since they acquired Schaft and Boston Dynamics, it has never been clear what the goal was. While robots are a great technology and one of the most exciting branches of technological innovation right now, it will take many years until such projects and products come to market on a global scale.

The bigger question is where Google and Alphabet will go from here. Many people and tech enthusiasts were quite excited about their venture into the world of robotics. Now that this dream has come to a premature end, it is evident  a new plan of attack needs to be forged. Additionally, the plan for SoftBank is very mysterious as well. The company has acquired ARM and Sprint in recent years. These are exciting times we live in, that much is certain.

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