Alphabet Sells Boston Dynamics: SoftBank Takes Over

Alphabet finally found a buyer for Boston Dynamics. For a while now, speculation led many to believe Google was trying to sell their subsidiary. SoftBank, a solar and technology company based in Japan purchased the Boston Dynamics for an undisclosed sum and as part of this deal, they also bought Schaft, another one of Alphabet’s robotics firms. The company assures the public that Alphabet will still be committed to robotics, focused on improving robots motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and space, image, text processing.

The announcement was made Friday, 6/9/2017 but very few details have been released. No information on how much the company was sold for or when the deal might close was made available to the public.

Boston Dynamics is best known for their Big Dog and Spot robots. These incredible machines have been seen on YouTube millions of times, usually performing amazing feats of engineering. Though some of the video’s released by Boston Dynamics are a bit comical, such as the time Spot fell on a banana peel, this company has pioneered impressive technology and has helped drive robotics capabilities forward. Some were designed for military purposes, others for search and rescue but recently the company showed off the Handle robot, specifically designed for an industrial warehouse. Companies like Boston Dynamics are essential for the advancement of robotics technology.

SoftBank’s deal includes the purchase of Alphabet’s Schaft, a company that develops bipedal robots.

SoftBank became popular from their release of the childlike Pepper companion robot. Pepper is primarily a novelty, able to sing songs and answer basic questions but with no real real-world capabilities. SoftBank hopes that their purchase of Schaft and Boston Dynamics highlights their commitment to robotics technology and underlines the fact that robotics is a key part of their business.

In a statement released by Alphabet, they expressed that the future looks bright for Boston Dynamics and Schaft in the hands of SoftBank. “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,” the statement read.

The companies purchased by SoftBank bring with it a host of innovative and cutting-edge robotics technology. There’s no telling how far it can progress and what these technologies will mean for the future. However one thing is certain, robots are here to stay as automation continues to play a larger role in manufacturing and a host of other industries. As businesses and militaries around the world continue to look toward robotics to solve common problems, the work SoftBank, Boston Dynamics and Schaft does will only become more important as time goes on.

We’ll be watching these developments closely so be sure to check back soon for the latest information and technology coming out of SoftBank.