Sebastian Thrun

The home cooking robot market is, shall we say, in the early innings.

Not that folks aren’t trying. Companies like Sereneti and GammaChef are working on creating full home cooking robots, while others like Rotimatic and Bartesian are applying robotics more narrowly to tackle single-function machines to make flatbread or cocktails.

But it’s pretty self-evident at this point we’ve only just thrown out the first pitch.

So when the father of the self-driving car puts out a feeler for a new project he’s working on in the area of home cooking robotics, needless to say it piqued my interest.

According to Business Insider, Sebastian Thrun, the man behind early autonomous car effort Stanley, is building a team for a project that will develop “technology to modernize how we prepare daily healthy and tasty meals at home.” The company’s stealth name is SVFactory.

Thrun’s entry into this market is exciting if for only his proven ability jumpstart new industries through innovation. Not only did his work at DARPA eventually lead to his shepherding Google’s early work on autonomous vehicles, but Thrun also went on to found Google’s so-called ‘moonshot factory’, Google X, and has been instrumental in helping to democratize the education market through the founding of Udacity, a hugely popular online learning site.

But while Thrun clearly has an ability to make futuristic technology concepts more market ready, he has his work cut out for him with consumer cooking robots. It remains to be seen how robotics can be applied to home cooking in a way that makes consumers feel, well, at home. Futuristic efforts like that of Moley are intriguing, but I’m not entirely sure how mass market and practical putting two giant robots arms would be in a normal home.

Still, count me as excited about the entrance of a heavy hitter like Thrun into the market. Let’s hope he can hit a home run or two.

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  1. I’m not convinced. I guess I’d have to see how the robotics are used to prepare a meal, but putting a big pair of robot arms in a kitchen is too weird for most people.

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