Google acquires Boston Dynamics, maker of animal-inspired robots

Company nabs a maker of impressive walking and running creatures. It's part of Google's effort to buy its way into a future populated by autonomous mechanical entities.

Boston Dynamics' gas-powered WildCat robot, which can gallop across a parking lot, is now part of Google's robotics program.
Boston Dynamics' gas-powered WildCat robot, which can gallop across a parking lot, is now part of Google's robotics program. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, maker of Cheetah , BigDog , WildCat and other nature-inspired robots.

Google confirmed the acquisition in a Saturday New York Times report, which also broke the story earlier in December about former Android chief Andy Rubin leading a robotics push at Google .

Boston Dynamics gained Internet fame through YouTube videos of its agile, often gas-powered robots dealing with ice, snow, and other obstacles. It's easy to see why the Defense Department -- specifically the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- is interested.

Boston Dynamics has a lot of experience with quadrupedal robots, but more recently, it's developed its bipedal Petman , also funded by DARPA.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Nissan gives new Murano bold style (pictures)
Top great space moments in 2014 (pictures)
This is it: The Audiophiliac's top in-ear headphones of 2014 (pictures)
ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)
Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)