Alphabet Launches a Robotics Subsidiary

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced on Friday the launch of a new subsidiary, called Intrinsic, dedicated to software used in robotics, a new avenue of diversification for the group already present in autonomous vehicles and delivery drones.

It is the new general manager of Intrinsic, Wendy Tan-White, who announced, in a blog post, the creation of this new company, whose activity was until now housed within X, also called Moonshot Factory, where Alphabet’s innovative projects are developed.

Intrinsic’s ambition is to use his programming skills to enable robots to perform tasks that they could not previously do.

This includes programming robots so that they can learn over time, primarily through artificial intelligence and the use of sensors, Ms. Tan-White said.

The goal is to “drastically reduce the time, cost and complexity of using industrial robots,” said the leader.

The blog post features examples of the innovative use of robots, which perform manual tasks that are usually performed by humans, such as assembling furniture or assembling a wooden house.

“None of this can be realistically or cost-effectively automated today,” admits Wendy Tan-White, while hinting that Intrinsic might make it possible.

Having worked with several technology companies in the United Kingdom, this computer engineer by training in particular co-founded, in 1999, Moonfruit, a pioneer of so-called SaaS technology, which makes it possible to use remote software, the precursor of the “cloud” (computing from a distance).

The robotics software business had been in the works for more than five years at X, revealed Wendy Tan-White.

The new company is now seeking partners in the automotive, electronics and healthcare sectors, she said.

X, formerly Google X, was created in 2010 to house innovative projects from Google, which has since become Alphabet.

Many of these programs were unsuccessful, but some became full subsidiaries, such as Waymo, which develops autonomous vehicles, or Wing, dedicated to delivery drones.