Google's Robotics Team Is Reportedly Partnering With Foxconn On Automation Projects

Feb 11 2014, 4:44pm CST | by

Based in Taiwan, Foxconn is known as the key manufacturing company behind the Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and Microsoft Xbox. Google has also been quietly working with Foxconn on various robotics projects over the last year. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou met with Google executive Andy Rubin last year to discuss potential robotics integration, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Rubin is spearheading new robotics projects at Google. To ramp up the robotics team and technology, Google acquired eight companies: Boston Dynamics, Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss and Holomni.

Prior to running Google’s robotics initiatives, Rubin was the head of Google Android. As the co-founder of Android, Rubin has been leading development of the mobile operating system since the company was acquired by Google in August 2005. Android is now the most used smartphone platform in the world so Rubin is looking to conquer the next frontier: automation. Rubin stepped down as the head of Android in March 2013 to focus on building up Google’s robotics arm. Rubin said that the robotics initiative is one of Google’s long-term “moonshot” programs, which include projects like Google Glass and self-driving cars.

There are reports that Google’s robotics arm is going to specifically focus on electronic assembly automation. This is something that Foxconn is interested in because automation at their factories could streamline operations and increase productivity for over one million employees. It would also enable Foxconn to expand beyond consumer electronics manufacturing. Foxconn reportedly has plans on moving into the automotive and medical equipment sectors.

Partnering with Foxconn makes sense for Google because the manufacturing company offers a large testing ground for robotics technology. Analysts suggest that Google will use their software development expertise to design a new operating system for controlling the robots.

What are your thoughts about Google and Foxconn partnering? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Forbes Apple


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