In 2018, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced that it was shutting down its subsidiary, Boston Dynamics, which had been developing advanced robotics technology. As part of this move, Alphabet also decided to lay off a number of employees from another subsidiary, Schaft, which had been working on robots that could clean cafeterias and open doors.
The reason for the layoffs was reportedly due to a change in strategy at Alphabet, which wanted to focus on developing robotics technology that could be used for commercial applications rather than research and development. While Schaft’s robots showed promise in the areas of cleaning and door-opening, they were not seen as viable products for commercial sale.
The layoffs were part of a larger trend in the robotics industry, which has seen companies shifting their focus away from research and development and towards more practical applications such as manufacturing and logistics. Despite this, the field of robotics continues to be an area of interest for tech companies, and many are investing heavily in developing new technologies that can be used in a variety of industries.
It’s worth noting that Google has not abandoned robotics altogether. The company still has a number of ongoing projects in the field, including the development of a robot that can navigate through difficult terrain and a robotic arm that can be used in manufacturing. However, the company’s focus has shifted towards commercial applications rather than research and development.
In 2018, Google’s parent company Alphabet decided to shut down its robotics division, known as “Google X” or “X Development LLC,” which was responsible for developing advanced robotics technology. As part of the shutdown, the company laid off its entire team of robot engineers and technicians, including those working on robots that cleaned cafeterias and opened doors.
The decision to shut down the robotics division was reportedly made due to a lack of progress in developing commercially viable robotics products. Despite investing heavily in robotics technology, Google was unable to create products that could compete with established players in the industry, such as Boston Dynamics and iRobot.
The robot cleaners and door-openers were among the most visible products developed by Google’s robotics division. The robot cleaners were designed to navigate around obstacles and clean floors using a combination of sensors and machine learning algorithms. The door-opening robots, on the other hand, were designed to operate in office buildings and other public spaces, using sensors and artificial intelligence to detect people and open doors for them.
While Google’s robotics division may have been shut down, the company has continued to invest in other areas of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing and computer vision. Additionally, some of the technology developed by Google’s robotics division has been integrated into other Alphabet projects, such as self-driving cars and drones.