Toyota to buy Google’s robotics companies?
Toyota is reportedly preparing to purchase two robotics companies currently owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc.
The potential sale includes Boston Dynamics and Schaft, according to a Nikkei report. Both are known for involvement in several Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency initiatives.
Boston Dynamics has created a number of notable prototype robots, including quadrupeds BigDog and WildCat/Cheetah (pictured), the human-like biped Atlas, the small SandFlea and wall-climbing RiSE, among others.
Schaft began as a team for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, founded by a University of Tokyo graduate, initially set to receive government funding for the competition before Google’s acquisition.
Both entities had worked on prototype robots for potential use by the military or for search-and-rescue operations, however Google appears to have struggled in further developing the technology. Any potential product ambitions reportedly faded when the search giant’s robotics head, Andy Rubin, left the company to work with other startups.
Toyota and Google are said to be in “final talks” for the buyout, however the automaker could still walk away if the parties do not settle the last few details. A price tag for the purchase remains unclear.