Foxconn is working with Google to replace workforce with robots

By on February 11, 2014, 11:30 AM
google, foxconn, manufacturing, factories, robotics

Foxconn, better known to those in the US as Apple’s key supplier, has many clients around the world but most would likely be surprised to learn the company has quietly been working with another industry giant since last year according to people familiar with the matter as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, former Android chief Andy Rubin has been working with the Taiwanese contract manufacturer to carry out Google’s vision for robotics in manufacturing. It’s said that Foxconn chairman Terry Gou recently met with Rubin to discuss new robotics technologies and speed up the deployment process in his factories.

The search giant is getting serious with its robotics push as of late. Last year, Google acquired no less than eight robotics companies including Boston Dynamics – a company that once designed robots for the Pentagon.

Google won’t be building military-grade robots for research or defense, however. Instead, the company plans to use the acquisitions to help with manufacturing and assembly of electronics. Surprisingly enough, this is a task that is still largely done by hand in many parts of the world. Adding robots into the equation would no doubt speed along the process and help save a lot of money on the employee front.

True enough, Foxconn currently has over a million workers and they have been under pressure lately over rising labor costs and workplace disputes. For these reasons, the company could serve as the perfect testing ground for Google’s new robotics technology.

User Comments: 15

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amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Robotics are the future. Unfortunately, greed will always retard their advancement.

1 person liked this | OneSpeed said:

Ironic. Google's robots making Apple products.

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

Robotics are the future. Unfortunately, greed will always retard their advancement.

He who automates, profits. The only thing greed has to do with robotics is how fast they eliminate humans from the work force. This is great stuff for engineers, business owners and us finance types. But for the millions upon millions of people who will be finding themselves up the creek without a paddle when their manufacturing job gets handed to an army of Karels, it's a pretty bleak picture.

Ironic. Google's robots making Apple products.

Not so ironic. The vast majority of big firms use parts, equipment, services, and/or labor from competing organizations to get their products out the door. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. These days, the company name on the product only conveys who owns the patent.

Guest said:

Long live robots! Hope they'll have the money to buy Google products ... =))

Guest said:

First Companies in 'rich' places outsource jobs to 'poor' places since it was much cheaper to build. When those places are become 'rich' they outsource the jobs to robots. Soon many goods will be produced at great profit however no people will be able to afford them.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Thus coming the Pink revolution...

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Let the skynet jokes begin.

Would you imagine putting those thousands of workers out of job? In any part of the world, that can break economies.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Maybe Foxconn will start putting double anti suicide nets around their buildings. Imagine if those expensive robots start feeling the heat like some of the unfortunate human workers did and took a running dive out of a window, it could work out pretty costly for them. XP

Guest said:

It really is a moral dilemma. Most people are not "necessary" so what kind of value or job would you place on these obsoleted flesh bots. It seems like the US solution is a welfare, police state with some BS healthcare thrown in. Take your pick from being a moocher, criminal, policeman, or insurance bot.

Guest said:

"Ironic. Google's robots making Apple products."

That is what we called business.. and don't forget Foxconn not just responsible for manufacturing apple products, they also responsible for manufacturing products from Acer, Blackberry, Sony, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Nintendo, etc

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Two names I go out of my way to keep from supporting. I wasn't expecting Apple at first, make it three.

Even though I'm not here to provoke a negative response, go ahead and say I'm trolling. It won't hurt my feelings, not in this topic.


Damn typos, I hate reading my own responses later and seeing more than two errors. :/

Renrew Renrew said:

I'm wondering how many robots will buy I phones. I still refuse to use automated check outs.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

This just means china will no longer be needed for their work force. If I won a product and the biggest clients are in the USA, I will just place my plant with robots in wyoming or Idaho where the land is super cheap. In return my buyers will get a cheaper phone.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

There is a Luddite growing inside of me.

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