Google’s innovative and successful venture into the world of robotics appears to have come to a suprising dead end. Google produced proof of concepts and some amazing prototypes that it subsequently published on YouTube.
Tens of millions of people viewed the videos with astonishment and over the next few weeks Google and the robotic division, Boston Dynamics, were seen as pioneers, pushing the frontier in robot technology.
However, it appears that behind the scenes things were not so cordial or successful with Google executives at the parent company Alphabet Inc., created to make sure all the various companies under its corporate umbrella generate real revenue. This was of course the drawback of separating the business units under the Alphabet umbrella; each has to stand alone and be profitable, or have detrimental effects on the parents share value.
This is of course fundamentally necessary for any large business, as Google cannot have an under-performing subsidiary making the parent look bad, so concluded that Boston Dynamics isn’t likely to produce a marketable product in the next few years. Subsequently Google have been forced to put the unit up for sale.
Unfortunately for Boston Dynamics, their success turned out to be a hollow victory, as soon after the division’s latest robot video was posted to universal acclaim on YouTube, Google’s public-relations team expressed discomfort that Alphabet would be associated with a push into humanoid robotics.
It would appear to Google executives, driverless cars are OK but a robot driving a motorcycle is way too scary.