Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 1.23.12 PM
Screen shot taken Feb. 24, 2016, from a Boston Dynamics video on YouTube, 'Atlas, The Next Generation' Boston Dynamics

Google Reportedly Selling the Company That Makes Insane Humanoid Robots

Mar 17, 2016

Google wants to unload Mass.-based robotics firm Boston Dynamics, Bloomberg reports.

Boston Dynamics is best known for its Atlas humanoid robots, but it also makes animal-like models with names like Cheetah and WildCat. A video posted to YouTube in February showed the Atlas taking a walk through the woods, lifting boxes and getting up unassisted after being knocked down.

Google acquired Boston Dynamics in 2013, after which it became part of the search giant's moonshots lab, then called Google X. Bloomberg reports that Google is looking to sell the startup because of tension related to the company's long-term revenue timeline:

Tensions between Boston Dynamics and the rest of the Replicant group spilled into open view within Google, when written minutes of a Nov. 11 meeting and several subsequent e-mails were inadvertently published to an online forum that was accessible to other Google workers. These documents were made available to Bloomberg News by a Google employee who spotted them.

The November meeting was run by Jonathan Rosenberg, an adviser to Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page and former Google senior vice president, who was temporarily in charge of the Replicant group. In the meeting, Rosenberg said, “we as a startup of our size cannot spend 30-plus percent of our resources on things that take ten years," and that "there’s some time frame that we need to be generating an amount of revenue that covers expenses and (that) needs to be a few years."

A Google spokesperson did not immediately return TIME's request for comment.

Google's robotics efforts extend beyond Boston Dynamics. But the New York Times reported in January that the search giant's robotics division was suffering from "low morale and a lack of leadership" after leader and former Android chief Andy Rubin left the company in 2014.

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