Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly working with Foxconn on a secret Robotics project. Citing the unknown sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that Foxconn, or better known as Hon Hai Precisions is working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to materialize the company’s plans into robotics.
Foxconn, Google make advances in robotics
Foxconn chairman, Terry Gou to increase robot deployment at the factory is currently in talks with Rubin in Taepei to discuss the technology. Gou was upbeat regarding the new automation technologies showcased by Rubin. Rubin suggested Gou to assist in the integration of a technology company that Google is acquiring as Foxconn has strong understanding of mechanical engineering.
The web giant has built a new robotics group, and took over eight robotics companies last year, including Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has made mobile research robots for the Pentagon. According to the New York Times, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is already making efforts in the development of robotics. The report also notes that Google’s robotics team includes members from the manufacturing process including electronic assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing.
Meanwhile, Foxconn is also enhancing its automation efforts at its factories in the wake of challenges of increasing labor costs and workplace disputes in China with more than one million workers. The chairman of Foxconn has restated his ambition to build factories with robots, in the recent years, to grow into a high tech manufacturer focusing on high-margin capital intensive product such as automobile and medical equipment.
Robotics, the next big thing
According to the analysts, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Foxconn teaming up makes sense as the latter is the largest contract manufacturer of electronic devices, which would benefit Google providing it with the best testing platform for its new robotic technology. Analysts noted that Google would make new robotics operating system for manufacturers like it made Android operating system for mobile computing devices.
“Foxconn needs Google help to step up automation at its factories as the company has the lowest sales per employee among the contract makers, given its large workforce,” said Wanli Wang, an analyst at CIMB Securities. The analyst added that swapping robotics with human workers would be the next big thing in the technology industry. Other tech companies like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon are also in the process of developing robotic technology to capture the future growth opportunities.