The designer behind Android’s mobile phone software is moving on to bigger, better and realer robots.
Google engineer Andy Rubin is taking the lead on Google’s robot project, which will focus on developing robotics for manufacturing purposes, as opposed to private use.
According to experts cited in a New York Times report, the Google project could aim to update assembly lines and eventually delivery services (they’ve already taken the lead on the self-driving car).
“The automated car project was science fiction when it started,” Rubin said during a telephone interview with the Times. “Now it is coming within reach.”
With the help of an undisclosed investment from Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Rubin has already set about acquiring robotic engineering firms from the U.S. to Japan, specializing in fields like automation, vision, mobility and, of course, humanoid design.
“Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor,” Mr. Rubin said. “We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.”
Google’s reputation for research and development secret-keeping has already extended to the robot project, and few specifics are known. For now, the robot offices will be based in Palo Alto, Calif. and Japan.
“I have a history of making my hobbies into a career,” Rubin said. “This is the world’s greatest job. Being an engineer and a tinkerer, you start thinking about what you would want to build for yourself.”