Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, as the New York Times reports. The company builds robots that can walk and run and have names like BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas. Cheetah is said to be able to run faster than Usain Bolt.

The deal is Google’s eighth acquisition in the field, as Andy Rubin, who previously founded the company behind Android and led the operating system’s development until earlier this year, works on a ‘moonshot’ robotics project.

It is speculated that the project may result in warehouse or logistics robots, and the New York Times adds the idea of “elder care” into the mix (Google recently launched a company that will investigate extending human lifespans).

Interestingly, Boston Dynamics has built research robots for the Pentagon, and although Google will honor existing military contracts, the NYT says that the company “did not plan to move toward becoming a military contractor on its own.”

➤ Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots [New York Times]