Google Snubs Pentagon Robotics Contest

Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:20am

“The Pentagon is backing a robot-building contest that it hopes will bolster ties to companies outside its usual supplier base. But when 25 two-legged automatons face off in the finals later this year, the hottest company in the business won’t be there,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  

“That’s because Google Inc. bought Tokyo-based robot builder Schaft Inc. in late 2013, just weeks before Schaft triumphed in a trial run, and then withdrew the company from the contest. The absence of Schaft points up a challenge for the Defense Department as it seeks to attract more commercial companies to provide advanced technology that can be turned into the next generation of military systems.”  

“Google is making some of the biggest bets in robotics, but it wants little to do with the Pentagon’s push. Google’s robotics team has no interest in working on military applications or receiving Pentagon funding, and is reducing its involvement in defense projects as much as possible, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking.”