In what could be considered the future of product delivery if applied as intended, both Amazon and Google have come out this week announcing developments in the fields of robotics, a move which would allegedly assist in manufacturing, retail, and delivery above others.
The experiments with ‘robotic technology’ from Google (presumably from their famed ‘X Labs’ division) come announced several days after Amazon revealed tests in progress (under the codename ‘Prime Air’) for having ‘automated drones’ employed as hovering vehicles capable of delivering online retail products (a move which carriage firm UPS are also claiming to be looking at on their own). However, the search engine giant appear to be going more widespread, with the purchase of no less than seven companies described as specialists in robotics over the course of the last six months.
The project is noted as being headed by ex-Android boss Andy Rubin, who is currently in the process of recruiting staff to take on robot-building positions, as he summarised: “I feel with robotics it’s a green field. We’re building hardware, we’re building software. We’re building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack.”
While currently not looking to enter any form of commercial sale of products/humanoids developed (with Google’s recently launched ‘same-day grocery delivery service’ in selected cities (Google Shopping Express) earmarked by the media for possible robot use), the potential for such a field is a great one, with artificial intelligence combined with the features of an existing technology device potentially making a unique and desirable combination if applied well.
Google’s CEO Larry Page said of his faith in Rubin to deliver a quality idea in the developing industry based on past experience: “His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets. It is still very early days for this, but I can’t wait to see the progress.”
With the companies acquired (Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Holomni, Industrial Perception, Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics, Schaft) including ones that specialise in the arts of content creation, filming, and commercial-making, it appears as though there is the opportunity for some form of video-robotics tie-up from Google, but how long will it take before they even come close to creating an almighty companion in the mould of ‘Kuratas’? At the very least, a cut-price children’s version of a humanoid/screen hybrid should be planned:
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