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Google, Foxconn team to build ROBOT ARMY

Report says Google's 'bot wrangler wants a little help from Taiwan

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Contract manufacturer and long time Apple-assembler-extraordinaire Foxconn is now helping Google achieve its ambitious plans in the robotics space, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The two firms have apparently been working on something since last year.

People familiar with the matter told the paper that Google’s new robot-leader, former Android boss Andy Rubin, met Foxconn supremo Terry Gou in Taipei recently for a chat.

During that meeting Rubin apparently asked Gou if his firm could use its expertise in engineering to help the Chocolate Factory integrate an unnamed tech company it is acquiring.

Google has bought a total of nine robotics companies since the beginning of 2013 and put Rubin in charge of an ambitious ten year push into the space.

These range from Schaft, a Japanese biz which makes humanoid robots, to robotics camera maker Bot & Dolly.

Most recently Google snapped up MIT spin-off Boston Dynamics – known for its animal-like robots such as the WildCat and Cheetah – and in January, artificial intelligence firm DeepMind.

It’s thought that Rubin & Co’s first major task will be to develop bots which can be used for large-scale manufacturing and logistics, and in that respect Foxconn is probably the perfect partner to help Google achieve its vision.

Faced with increasing labour costs in China and elsewhere, the Taiwanese ODM/OEM giant has been investing in robotics for some time.

Back in 2011 a Xinhua report claimed it had 10,000 robots on the production line with plans for one million by 2014.

Robots, of course, have the added bonus of not requiring sleep, lodgings or running off to tell labour rights groups about alleged mistreatment. ®

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