Science and Tech


Google Teams Up With Foxconn For Robotics Efforts

Google has paired up with Foxconn, which manufactures Apple iPhones and iPads, on future robotics ventures.
Posted at 3:37 PM, Feb 11, 2014

​Google has a new partner to help with its robotics projects. ​Foxconn, best known for its work producing Apple iPhones and iPads, has been quietly working with Google on the development of robotics.

The New York Times reported in December that Google's Andy Rubin, the man behind Google's Android software, is heading the company’s effort to build an entirely new generation of robots. The company's effort is focused on "manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing."

And what better place to try out new manufacturing robots than one of the world's largest manufacturers?

Analysts told The Wall Street Journal automation of manufacturing will likely be the next big thing in the technology industry. Microsoft and Amazon have been developing similar robotics technologies for their own use.

Google's hope is to build a robotic operating system for other manufacturers, similar to the way it built the Android operating system for mobile devices.  

A robotic manufacturing system might be about more than just efficiency and innovation for Foxconn, though. The company has faced several allegations of using child labor, having employees work over the weekly limit, and paying illegal wages. (Via RT, SlashGear, CNN)

The company even draped nets between buildings in 2010 after several workers committed suicide by jumping out of windows. (Via Wired, CNET, iMore)

A writer for The Verge says Foxconn is already working on implementing robots and plans to build new manufacturing facilities in the U.S. once automation pushes the cost of labor low enough.