Google, Foxconn Working Together on Robotics
February 11, 2014 1:08 PM
comment(s) - last by
Google wants a place to test its systems while Foxconn is looking to implement robotic systems
Foxconn -- the trading name for Hon Hai Precision Co. in China -- is often associated with Apple, since it assembles the Cupertino giant's devices like the iPhone and iPad. But as it turns out, Foxconn is a mutual acquaintance with Apple's most fierce competitor in the mobile OS realm.
The Wall Street Journal
, Google and Foxconn have been quietly working together since last year, but not on mobile products like smartphones and tablets -- rather, the two are focused on their respective robotics ventures, and how they can help one another achieve their goals.
In March 2013, Andy Rubin -- the Google executive responsible for the Android operating system --
as Android chief at Google. Since the resignation of that particular position, he's been working with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to start a new Google robotics group.
Rubin said that there are many potential applications for robotics, such as in manufacturing and logistics markets. Rubin would like to see
a robotics operating system
help with electronics assembly and compete with the likes of Amazon in the retail market.
The group is not looking to create robots for consumer use, much like its X lab that creates products like Google Glass and the autonomous vehicle. Instead, the robotics effort will have one main goal (at least for now): get products to the market faster and sell, sell, sell.
A partnership with Foxconn could help, considering it'd be a good testing environment for Google's new robotic operating system.
[SOURCE: X bit Labs]
Foxconn, on the other hand, is seeking help from Google in the robotics realm as well. For instance, Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou said in 2011 that he wanted
300,000 robots installed
by the end of 2012 and a total of 1 million by 2014. However, in June 2012, it was apparent that those targets weren't going to happen. Instead, he hoped to have "monotonous" tasks eliminated through automation within a few years and fully automated plants in five to 10 years.
Foxconn's issues with installing the robots comes down to cost and technology. Foxconn would have to spend anywhere from $2.1 billion to over $10 billion for fully automated plants, depending on the type of robots used. Foxconn's traditional capital spending is below $3 billion.
Also, technology is ever changing, and keeping up with the production cycles of different products would take more time than having humans perform the same task. For instance, once you've finished stabilizing the process for one product, it's already time for a new product to roll down the line.
Rubin met with Gou in Taipei recently to discuss robotics, where Rubin showed off new automation technologies that could be helpful. Gou reportedly expressed excitement toward the new tech, possibly starting a new relationship that could be beneficial to both sides.
Foxconn is also looking to invest in research and technology locations in the U.S., and forming ties with another major U.S. tech company wouldn't be a bad idea in the midst of that venture.
The Wall Street Journal
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/11/2014 4:06:29 PM
A robotics engineer here in the US once told me that his sector was safe from outsourcing because the Chinese are absolute rubbish at building delicate hydraulics and pneumatics. In any case the manufacturing future for China is very much in question these days, as well as a large part of their economy. So that should be interesting.
RE: Chinese Robotics
2/12/2014 9:58:31 AM
until we build them a robot that can build precise hydraulics and pneumatics.
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Former Android OS Chief Heading New Google Robotics Group
December 4, 2013, 1:20 PM
Android Chief Andy Rubin Steps Down, to be Reassigned at Google
March 13, 2013, 3:20 PM
Foxconn Runs into Trouble Deploying Robot Replacements for Human Workers
December 11, 2012, 12:48 PM
Quick Note: Google Chromebooks Now Coming with 1TB of Google Drive Space
November 21, 2014, 1:20 PM
Xiaomi Aims to be #1 Smartphone OEM Within 10 Years, Apple Urges Caution
November 21, 2014, 9:33 AM
Quick Note: Samsung's Request to Dismiss Microsoft Lawsuit is Rejected
November 20, 2014, 12:53 PM
Amazon Offers "The Washington Post" Free for Six Months to Kindle Fire Owners
November 20, 2014, 7:41 AM
Apple Watch Screen Resolution, App Limitations are Laid Bare by Developer Kit
November 19, 2014, 11:31 PM
Apple Replaces “FREE” Label with “GET” on App Downloads in iTunes App Store
November 19, 2014, 5:38 PM
Most Popular Articles
Wal-Mart: Miss Thanksgiving, Get Xbox One + Master Chief Collection for $299
November 17, 2014, 9:40 PM
Austrian Pilots Call Surface 3 Pro Flight Bag a "Dream Come True"
November 14, 2014, 2:00 PM
Nokia Explores Two Paths Back to the Smartphone Market
November 14, 2014, 9:05 PM
U.S. Marshals Using Fake, Airplane-based Cell Towers to Scan Cell Phones of Americans
November 14, 2014, 9:05 AM
It's Official: Twitter is Profitable "Junk"
November 16, 2014, 10:45 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information