Google Researcher Shares Insights on Possible Focus for Company’s Robotics Initiatives


Vincent Vanhoucke, Google's robotics intivative leader disclosed the details on possible things that Google could focus following a month of silence / Photo by: Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay via Wikimedia Commons


Google's new leader on robotics initiatives, Vincent Vanhoucke, disclosed details on possible things that the tech company could be focusing on following a month of silence since it was revealed that they were reviving efforts on such projects.

CNET reports Vanhoucke saying those areas include navigation and developing better ways for robot-human interaction, noting that Google is looking into robotic "locomotion" as it works on developing robot arms. Robotic locomotion is the method used to allow robots to move from one place to another.

"That's always a crowd pleaser to have robots that could run and jump and do tricks," said Vanhoucke, who is also a principal researcher at the tech company. "It's a very good test bed for very broad classes of algorithms."

Google's efforts in robotics used to be among the most notable and secretive initiatives at the firm, according to CNET. The division called Replicant began in 2013 with Andy Rubin, who developed the Android operating system, at the helm.

Under Rubin's leadership, the search giant acquired several robotic startups, such as Boston Dynamics—a robotics design company known for its creations that navigate and move in strangely realistic ways. However, the startup, along with many others, was sold off following Rubin's resignation from Google in 2014.

The tech firm's new effort, called Robotics at Google, focuses more on basic robots. Google is looking toward making the biggest breakthroughs using its machine-learning software.

It seeks to teach the robots ways on how they can learn independently, as well as do tasks that they couldn't do before. For instance, a Google robotic arm is capable of picking up specific objects and throwing them into bins or even scoop up a certain amount of beans from buckets. These efforts are being made to achieve the tech giant's ultimate goal of bringing more robots out into the real world.