Second reason, They own or have partial ownership in most of the top 8 teams that will get DARPA funding for the next years competition. I have to ask Google "If you are backing those teams do they really need money from DARPA?" I thought we had a huge federal deficit by the way?
Third reason, If Google is truly about advancement, innovation and research into robotics then funding all 16 teams will show Google's commitment to the field of Robotics.
Fourth reason, A rescue robot would be a great contribution to mankind. Should Google be the only company that can build them? The more robots and different types of rescue robots the better for everyone. We need to increase access not decrease access to this technology.
Finally, I am calling out Google to do the right thing! Do not limit research to only your hand picked teams. You can reach your goal of creating a true rescue robot if you have more not less teams working on the project!
I am going to post my response to questions that I am getting about this post here:
"Naive maybe but why is Google taking public (DARPA grant) money to pay for its research and development? Yes, they did a good job of buying all the right companies. Most of the funded teams , top 8 use Google robots or are owned by Google. The question that I am asking is why does Google need grant money for research and develop? Most of the unfunded teams are universities that need grants to continue thier research. Are you saying that Google needs grant money to continue its research? "
"I have yet to see where Google has pledged that all research done with public money will be opened sourced? I think they should at least pledge that ."
"I fear that Google is trying to horde all of the grant money not because they need it but because they are trying to limit competition. Lack of competition could lead to a limited supply and a expensive Google rescue robot. Who would that hurt? The same people who are funding Google's research. So what better way to dismiss these fears than to fund every team so they can compete next year and then let the best robot win? Do we want the best robots setting at home next year because the team does not have the money to go to the contest?"
"The DRC challenge is to build a robot to save lives. So my question to you is what is the best way to do this? Limit teams and the competition to only Google teams or to open it up to as many teams as possible? "
"The purpose of the DRC challenge was to get as many companies, universities and individuals involved in research and development in the filed of robotics and in developing a rescue robot. It was not setup to fund one companies research only?"
Press release about the DRC Challenge from DARPA.
I found this interesting!
"After two days of competition, DARPA selected eight teams to receive up to $1 million in funding to continue their work. The scores, out of a total of 32 points, were:
27 points: SCHAFT (SCHAFT, Inc., Tokyo, Japan)
20 points: IHMC Robotics (Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, Pensacola, Fla.)
18 points: Tartan Rescue (Carnegie Mellon University, National Robotics Engineering Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.)
16 points: Team MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Boston, Mass.)
14 points: RoboSimian (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Los Angeles, Calif.)
11 points: Team TRACLabs (TRACLabs, Inc., Webster, Tex.)
11 points: WPI Robotics Engineering C-Squad (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.)
9 points: Team Trooper (Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, Cherry Hill, N.J.)"
If you look at the the eight teams. Six of them are owned by Google or use a robot (Atlas) that is on loan from Google. So Google will benefit from up to 6 million dollars in DARPA funding in the next 12 to 18 months. Hmm, does Google really need grant money or should it go to the Colleges and Universities that are trying to compete with Google's almost unlimited resources?
DRC Challenge website.
Looks like Andy Rubin is head of Google Robotics, so what do you think Andy?
Link to Google plus page.
Post a tweet to Andy Rubin about this at: @Arubin