We use cookies to give you the best personal experience on our website. If you continue to use our site without changing your cookie settings, you agree we may place these cookies on your device. You can change your cookie settings at any time but if you do , you may lose some functionality on our website . More information can be found in our privacy policy.
Please provide more information.
Stylus no longer supports Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9. Please upgrade to IE 11, Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge. This will ensure you have the best possible experience on the site.
Brief Published: 11 Apr 2014

Google: Robot Investment

E-David painting robot

Google Ventures, the US search giant's investment arm, has secured a stake in robot-maker Savioke, a six-month-old US start-up that is yet to announce its first product.

Savioke says it is creating "autonomous robot helpers for the services industry" – which may operate in homes for the elderly, hospitals and restaurants. Customer trials are due to begin later this year.

Savioke's chief executive Steve Cousins is the former head of Willow Garage, a robotics research and development lab in California. The lab launched a number of other successful robotics start-ups during his tenure, two of which were acquired by Google in 2013 – Industrial Perception, which developed advanced 3D visual sensors to guide robots, and robot arm manufacturer Redwood Robotics.

In the past year, Google has acquired eight robotics companies, including DeepMind – an artificial intelligence firm that employs some of the world's best artificial intelligence specialists.

Advances in robotics have huge potential to disrupt the service, manufacturing and healthcare industries in coming decades. For example, care homes in Japan and Europe have been using Paro – a cuddly robotic pet shaped like a seal – to provide residents with psychological benefits similar to animal therapy.

For more on this topic, see SXSWi 2014: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Man & Machine.