Toyota is in talks to buy two robotics businesses from Google

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Toyota Launches New Robot Technology
Toyota is ramping up its robotics business (Source: Getty)

Motor company Toyota is in talks to buy two robotics divisions from Google's parent company, Alphabet.

The Japanese firm is interested in buying Boston Dynamics - the firm behind Cheetah, said to be the fastest-legged robot in the world - and Schaft, according to a report from Nikkei.

Alphabet is reported to be interested in selling Boston Dynamics as it is unlikely to have a product ready for market in the near future.

Toyota did not comment directly on the reports, but said the group, along with its research and development arm, Toyota Research Institute, "regularly discuss[es] possible collaborations with outside partners to help create ever-better cars and to advance our R&D efforts".

Last year, Toyota announced plans to intensify its research into robotics, with a $1bn (£690m) investment to be made over the next five years. The company said its initial focus would be on developing artificial intelligence for cars and robots.

Schaft is a Japanese robotics company that was bought by Google in 2013. The firm specialises in humanoid robots with extra strong limbs.

Boston Dynamics lists the US army, military organisation Darpa and Sony among its clients. It specialises in animal-like robots, and is probably best known for its BigDog creation - a dog-like four-legged robot which can climb slopes up to 35 degrees and tackle terrain such as rubble, mud, snow and water.

Last December, the firm created a set of robot reindeer, presumably with the aim of making Father Christmas' yearly journey more efficient.

And earlier this year, the company unveiled a human-like robot with the ability to stand up to bullies.

The 5' 9" Atlas robot is "specialised for mobile manipulation", according to Boston Dynamics. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and stereo sensors in its head to "avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects".

Alphabet has been contacted for comment.