Alphabet-owned Intrinsic is acquiring fellow robotic software firm Vicarious

Alphabet X-birthed Intrinsic made its big debut last September. The subsidiary looks to buck its parent company’s somewhat spotty robotics record with a software-first approach. Specifically, the company is looking to make manufacturing robots more intelligent — a concept that no doubt excites many in the space amid pandemic-fueled demand for automation.

Today it made its second big piece of news: an acquisition. Intrinsic is acquiring fellow AI/robotic intelligence firm Vicarious. The Bay Area-based firm has been kicking for a dozen or so years, raising a healthy $250 million in that time from big names like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Samsung. The company describes its tech as, “a turnkey robotics solutions integrator using AI to automate tasks too complex and versatile for traditional automation.” That includes standard warehouse and logistics tasks like palletizing, picking and packing.

The deal finds CEO Scott Phoenix coming on board as CCO, while a small team from the firm led by Vicarious CTO Dileep George will actually be joining the DeepMind research team. In the initial Intrinsic announcement post, CEO Wendy Tan-White noted that the company has been collaborating with teams throughout Alphabet — and that certainly appears to be the case here.

“For more than a decade, Vicarious has been pushing the boundaries of intelligent robotics and AI across multiple industries with visionary customers, building an interdisciplinary team and unique culture in the process,” Tan-White said in a post. “We believe that combining our efforts will help us solve industry problems faster and accelerate our shared mission.”

Intrinsic has mostly stayed silent since its launch, opting instead to focus on building out some technology pilots with real-world manufacturing firms. That’s likely to continue to be the case, as the announcement doesn’t offer much more information on the deal. Though Tan-White promises more details, “in the coming months.”

Brian Heater

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