Daily Management Review

Robotics Businesses From Alphabet Inc Bought By Softbank Unit


06/09/2017




Robotics Businesses From Alphabet Inc Bought By Softbank Unit
Adding to Japan's SoftBank Group Corp’s growing artificial intelligence portfolio would be two firms that build walking robots from Alphabet Inc, which would be bought by a unit of the company, it announced on Friday.
 
Boston Dynamics and Tokyo-based Schaft, which design and manufacture robots that simulate human movement, would be bought by the Japanese company. The terms of the transactions were however not disclosed by it.
 
Hitting a 17-year high after the deal was announced, SoftBank's shares rose as much as 7.9 percent.
 
"Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and Marc (Raibert) and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots," SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son said in a statement. Raibert is CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics.
 
With the aim to boost its research and development capabilities, SoftBank has embarked on an aggressive acquisition campaign. For example, the world's largest private equity fund, which seeks to invest in technologies expected to grow significantly in the near future, such as robotics and artificial intelligence – the $93 billion Vision Fund, has been backed by the group.
 
A data "gold rush" is expected to happen as the global economy becomes increasingly digitized by Son, Japan's richest man, who describes the fund as essential for setting up SoftBank for that "gold rush".
 
Bipedal robots designed to negotiate uneven terrain is developed by Schaft, a University of Tokyo spinoff.
 
"Robotics as a field has great potential, and we're happy to see Boston Dynamics and Schaft join the SoftBank team to continue contributing to the next generation of robotics," an Alphabet spokesperson said.
 
including Atlas, a humanoid model that co-ordinates motion and balance using its arms and legs and can pick itself up off the ground when knocked over, the Boston Dynamics has produced a number of robots that mimic human and animal movement.
 
Often co-developed or funded by the U.S. military, this company is best known for building robots that look as if they belong in science-fiction movies. The acquisition is likely to be subject to regulatory approval from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States because of the military projects of the company.
 
Former Boston Dynamics employees said that during a robotics shopping spree led by Android creator Andy Rubin, the company was acquired by Google in 2013. But after Rubin’s departure, tut the team struggled to find its place within the tech giant.
 
"They’re advancing the state of the art in independent robotics. They are probably the leader in the U.S.," said Arnis Mangolds, a robotics expert who has worked with Boston Dynamics.
 
"But the problem is it's not ready for prime time, and very few people have a tolerance for that."
 
(Source:www.reuetrs.com) 






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