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Google’s robot army gains a major recruit

Published Feb 11th, 2014 11:15PM EST
Google Foxconn Robotics Partnership

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Like it or not, Google is building a robot army. After acquiring eight different robotics firms over the past year, the company is putting a lot of resources into both robotics and artificial intelligence, although we don’t yet know what its endgame for robots is or even if there’s any endgame at all. The Wall Street Journal reports that longtime Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is very interested in using Google’s robots to automate its assembly lines and has been “quietly working with Google” on its super-secret robotics project.

“The cooperation comes as Foxconn has been striving to accelerate automation efforts at its factories amid challenges of rising labor costs and workplace disputes in China, where it has more than a million workers,” the Journal reports. “Foxconn’s chairman has reiterated his ambitions to build factories with robots in recent years as the company seeks to transform itself into a high-tech manufacturer focusing on high-margin, capital-intensive products such as automobile and medical equipment.”

Whether this new behind-the-scenes partnership goes anywhere remains to be seen but you shouldn’t be too surprised if your iPhone gets built by Google-designed robots at some point in the future.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.