Google will not take more military funding for robotics subsidiaries

Posted Mar 24, 2014

Google has acquired about half a dozen companies last year as part of a big project being run by former Android head Andy Rubin. Two of the robotics companies that Google acquired still have to complete projects overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to The Verge. The two companies that are involved with DARPA are Boston Dynamics (Massachusetts) and Schaft (Japan).

The two companies will be participating in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The contest is military-sponsored where several robots will be entered to perform several complex tasks like scaling a ladder and clearing debris. Boston Dynamics has a $10.8 million DARPA contract to provide ATLAS robots and tech support for the competition. Schaft was founded to specifically compete in the DRC and received $2.6 million from DARPA.

Google said that the companies will no longer accept DARPA money, but the two companies will still compete in the contest. It is likely that if Google continued to accept military funding, it would cause controversy. DARPA would also likely prefer to invest in companies that are getting off the ground rather than putting money into Google. The competition will be taking place sometime between December 2014 and June 2015.