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SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. Softbank also agreed to buy robotics firm Schaft as part of the same deal.
SoftBank Robotics is the company’s subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots.
“Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution,” said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.”
Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert and his team “are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots,” he added. “I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.”
SoftBank has itself developed humanoid robots — NAO in 2006 and, more recently, Pepper.
The Pepper robot supports Android. SoftBank Robotics has collaborated with Microsoft in a cloud robotics project using Pepper and the Microsoft Azure IoT suite; has launched the Pepper Partner Program to support developers of apps for Pepper for Biz; and runs its own Robot App Lab to create apps for consumers.
The acquisition “is a good fit, not only for SoftBank’s Robotics group, but also ARM,” noted Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
SoftBank “is already invested in robotics and has a great vision for technology and a track record for investing in critical technologies,” he told…