Google buys scary robot maker Boston Dynamics

Google has confirmed it's acquired a company that makes robots for the military. But what's it planning?

Gulp. Google has confirmed it's acquired robotics engineering company Boston Dynamics, which is the firm behind a horde of terrifying robo-beasts. Boston Dynamics' animatronic zoo includes BigDog (a big robotic mutt that can walk through ice and snow), Cheetah (which can run at 29 miles an hour), and Petman (a scarily lifelike humanoid robot with quite a strut on him).

Andy Rubin, Google's head honcho of new projects, tweeted a link to a New York Times article in which Google confirmed the deal. He added: "The future is looking awesome!" Or terrifying, depending on how you look at it.

Boston Dynamics makes robots for the military, including a $10.8 million contract with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This will be honoured, according to Google. Though Google added it doesn't plan to become a military contractor "on its own".

But it hasn't ruled it out altogether.

Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company Google has acquired in the last six months. Its 'bots are known for their lifelike gait, and terrifying speed. Here's one of its latest creations, WildCat, in action.

Earlier this month, Rubin told the New York Times that Google will look into making its own robots. Rubin is known to have a lifelong passion for everything robotic. He's the man who set up the Android mobile operating system. Apparently his robotics division is separate to Google's X lab, which is where the company works on its more 'out there' ideas, like an Internet powered by balloons, or self-driving cars. Well, except that self-driving cars are looking more and more like a real prospect.

With Google making robots like these, and Amazon wanting to deliver packages using flying drones, I can't help but think that the future as envisioned by Terminator 2 isn't far off.

What do you think? Scary? Or do you trust Google to make friendly robots, who don't want to enslave mankind? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.