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.
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.