Foxconn, the electronics contract manufacturing company best known for being a close Apple partner, as well as having questionable employee conditions, is apparently looking to branch out a bit. Indeed, only a couple months after news broke that the company is looking into wearable tech, rumors have surfaced that Foxconn has been working with Google lately on a robotics project.
According to The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” Foxconn has been working with Android co-founder Andy Rubin since some time last year to “carry out” Google’s “vision for robotics.” If that all seems a bit nebulous, well, that’s because it is. Fortunately, that’s not all there is to say about the matter.
According to the source of this news, Rubin first met with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou to see about speeding up the company’s robot deployment at its own factories. However, the meeting led to Rubin demonstrating some new automation technologies and ultimately asking Gou to help Google integrate a company it was in the process of acquiring.
Since Google acquired eight robotics companies last year, including Boston Dynamics, it’s tough to say which one Rubin was referring to, but this may become clearer later on.
Regardless, Foxconn can definitely provide Google with the best possible testing ground for its new robotics technology. Meanwhile, Foxconn is in the process of accelerating its own automation efforts, so this partnership has potential benefits for both parties.
As for what exactly Google is planning, analysts suspect the company may be building a new, robotics-focused operating system for manufacturers. In other words, this could be Android for robotics — which would be a great way for Google to further strengthen its position in the technology industry as a whole.
This is merely speculation, of course, but it isn’t baseless since Rubin is evidently a key player in the project. Either way, it seems like we can expect big robotics news from Google sometime in the near future.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker