Google signals sale of Boston Dynamics amidst PR concerns over ‘terrifying’ humanoid robots

Google has signalled that it intends to place its Boston Dynamics robotics division up for sale in a sign that the tech giant is choosing to focus on software not hardware going forward.

The surprise decision follows a period of rapid technological advances in the sector which have seen division showcase a succession of increasingly sophisticated machines, the most recent of which was a bipedal humanoid-like creation which could navigate uneven ground, lift boxes and regain its balance when shoved.

Despite this progress Google’s accountants evidently concluded that the robots were still some way from rolling off the production line and generating profit, prompting the decision to put the unit on the open market.

Possible suitors include the likes of Toyota and Amazon, both of which invest heavily in the sector to support their automated production lines and warehouses.

Courtney Hohne, a director of communications at Google, said: “There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs.”

Boston Dynamics was purchased by Google in late 2013 but recent frictions are believed to have arisen stemming from a failure of the business to integrate fully under the Alphabet umbrella.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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