Intrinsic is Alphabet's new software company for industrial robotics

Alphabet launches an industrial robotics project and a new company, Intrinsic.

Google's subsidiary, Alphabet, has just launched a new company called Intrinsic. This company will focus on creating software for industrial robots. The project may seem a bit far-out, but it could well revolutionize the industry in the United States.

Yet another outlandish project for Alphabet. After Waymo (autonomous cars), Wing (drone delivery), Verily (healthcare and biotechnology), Calico (anti-aging) and DeepMind (artificial intelligence), Intrinsic is one of Google's newest areas of focus. After the failures of previous attempts in the robotics sector, Google is looking to leverage software based on machine learning algorithms.

The objective announced on the X blog of Google's Moonshot factory incubator reads "Intrinsic is working to unlock the creative and economic potential of industrial robotics for millions more businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers. We're developing software tools designed to make industrial robots (which are used to make everything from solar panels to cars) easier to use, less costly and more flexible, so that more people can use them to make new products, businesses and services."

Shortage of skilled labor

Google has been trying to make its mark in robotics for several years now, but so far, it hasn't had an outright success in the area. The failure of Boston Dynamics, sold after just four years in Alphabet's stable, and the Replicant project seem to have completely dampened the American firm's ambitions in the domain, because of manufacturing difficulties and negligible profitability for the moment. However, a functional industrial robot could turn out to be lucrative and allow Google to establish its hold on different technological sectors.

"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," writes Wendy Tan White, the CEO of Intrinsic, on the X blog.

Such a project could be a game-changer when it comes to jobs. Wendy Tan White also outlines the fear of a shortage of skilled labor. According to her, by 2030 there will be 2.1 million unfilled jobs in the US manufacturing industry and therefore the potential of external reindustrialization.

This isn't Alphabet's only large-scale robotics project. Everyday Robot, announced in 2019, aims to develop a versatile learning robot -- basically, a robot that can help individuals with all sorts of tasks on a daily basis. Like the new company Intrinsic, it's also part of the Moonshot program of Google's incubator. And now Intrinsic is aiming for the robotics jackpot.

Axel Barre