Alphabet has set up a new robotics subsidiary, Intrinsic

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Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has launched a new subsidiary, Intrinsic, which will focus on building software for industrial robots.

Intrinsic will be one of Alphabet’s ‘other bets’ and will be linked to its ‘moonshots’ segment, X.

It will follow the company’s relatively speculative firms focusing on new technology like Waymo (self-driving cars), Wing (delivery drones), and Verily (healthcare and biotech).

Intrinsic said it’s developing software tools to make industrial robots easier to use, cheaper and more flexible, so they can expand the reach of consumers using them.

The subsidiary’s CEO, Wendy Tan-White wrote in a blog post that Intrinsic would work to unlock “the creative and economic potential” of industrial robotics for businesses, as well as making them more accessible.

Alphabet has long harboured ambitions in the robotics sector, but to date it has had limited success with its robotics start-ups – which have either been sold or shut down.

The company is still on the lookout for its next successful tech venture outside its core digital advertising business at Google. Since its launch in 2010, X has developed products including delivery drones and internet balloons, with limited success.

Alphabet’s ‘other bets’ area lost $1.145bn on revenues of $198m in the first quarter of 2021.

According to Tan-White, Intrinsic has been testing and researching its technology for several years. Her team has worked alongside some of the world’s leading AI and robotics experts including Intrinsic CTO Torsten Kroeger.

Tan-White said: “Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications.”

She added that her team has been working in collaboration with other teams across Alphabet, as well as with manufacturing partners, on testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.

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