Google Reportedly Selling off Boston Dynamics After Spooky Video
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is reportedly selling off Boston Dynamics, a move viewed as a retreat from robotics for the tech giant.
Alphabet executives concluded that it’s doubtful the Waltham-based firm, which Google X acquired in 2013, will produce a marketable product in the next few years, the Bloomberg reports. Interested suitors are said to include Toyota’s research division, as well as Amazon, which uses robots at its sprawling fulfillment centers.
Google’s robot initiative, Replicant, was plagued with internal turmoil and leadership changes, reports Bloomberg. Leaked internal emails reveal Google employees were a tad off-put by Boston Dynamics’ recent video, revealing humanoid robots capable not only of walking smoothly, but getting back up after taking a tumble.
“There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs,” director of communications Courtney Hohne wrote in a private email, obtained by Bloomberg. She instructed colleagues to “distance X from this video,” and wrote, “we don’t want to trigger a whole separate media cycle about where BD really is at Google.”