Google is reportedly looking to find a buyer for Boston Dynamics, the robot research lab that it acquired in 2013. It’s believed that executives with the parent company Alphabet are questioning Boston Dynamics’ place and whether it can generate any real revenue.
According to Bloomberg, possible acquirers of Boston Dynamics include Toyota Research Institute and Amazon, two companies that have experience using robots. The report also alleges that there was more turmoil inside the companies, especially over the robot initiative Replicant: “At the heart of Replicant’s trouble … was a reluctance by Boston Dynamics executives to work with Google’s other robot engineers in California and Tokyo and the unit’s failure to come up with products that could be released in the near term.”
It’s also stated that while Replicant was folded into Google X, Alphabet’s advanced research group, Boston Dynamics remained an outsider, not part of any division. But even Replicant didn’t receive a warm welcome; Bloomberg cites sources saying that Google X head Astro Teller decreed that if robots weren’t a practical solution to problems the company was trying to solve, the engineers would be “reassigned to work on other things.”
Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Its research centered around robots moving in animal-like ways and had been heavily funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update if we hear back.