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Google may face off against Amazon in robot delivery

We all had a good laugh and a think about Amazon’s recent announcement that it was working on drone delivery to help reduce the time some products get to your doorstep and giggled again when Waterstones jokingly said that it would start delivering books via owl. However this might not be the only package delivery future sans delivery men, as Google may very well be looking to generate a robotic version that drives to your house, gets out and brings the package to your door.

This is all speculation based on Google’s recent business practices and acquisitions, but the NYTimes is somewhat convinced. Over the past six months, Google has bought up seven separate technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. There’s no word from the search giant on what exactly the project is, but it’s thought that it’ll start small, with robotic tweaks to production lines and manufacturing facilities. However, take that a step further and Google could quite easily begin automating the process of getting those goods from the manufacturer to the retailer, especially if you factor in the company’s development of self-driving cars.

irobot

“Now which one of you forgot to leave a failed delivery card?”

From there, it’s a simple step to take the product to the consumer too, something Google has already been experimenting with (though not with robots) in some areas through Google Shopping, which now makes deliveries for certain companies in San Francisco. Since these companies are already outsourcing for traditional delivery, you’d have to imagine a cheaper alternative – which for the sake of its development costs, it would need to be – like robotic delivery, would be the answer to their prayers.

The secretive robotics project within Google is now being headed by the founder of the Android platform, Andy Rubin, who started his career in engineering robotics. Though like his employer, he hasn’t said much about the appointment, Rubin is clear that what they’re working on is a long term development: “Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor,” he said. “We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.”

A famous tinkerer and hobbyist creator of intelligent machines, Rubin described the sort of developments they would initially push for as similar to the automated way windscreen wipers would come on when it rains.

KitGuru Says: Well guys, what do you think? Would you be happy receiving mail from a robot or does that seem like a slippery slope which ends with us all at the bottom screaming, “they took our jobs!”

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