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Google robots could rival Amazon drones

Google has acquired seven robotic technology companies in the past six months in an attempt to create a new generation of robots, according to a Google executive.

Andrew Rubin, previously in charge of Google's Android software development, revealed to the New York Times that he has been tasked with heading the tech giant's latest effort.

"Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor," Mr. Rubin told the newspaper. "We need enough runway and a 10-year vision."

"The automated car project was science fiction when it started, now it is coming within reach."

It is suggested that Google could combine the new generation of robots with its fleet of self-driving cars, potentially rivalling Amazon's delivery drones that were revealed earlier this week.

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos introduced PrimeAir on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, a current affairs programme in the US.

"I know this looks like science fiction but it's not," Bezos told presenter Charlie Rose.

The flying drones would offer same-day delivery for items weighing up to 2.27kg, though they are not expected to come into use for another four or five years.

Google's fleet of robotic postmen could be a reality before then, according to the New York Times. Citing Google executives, Times writer John Markoff claims Google's vision is "more realistic than Amazon's".

Rubin himself is optimistic about the prospects of Google's latest venture. "I feel with robotics it's a green field," he said. "We're building hardware, we're building software. We're building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack."