In 2013 Google acquired 6 companies across US and Japan, including Boston Dynamics, specialising in creating machines moving like humans or animals.

The original robotics project called Replicant was slowly wound down and its companies sold off as its VP of engineering was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal.

According to the New York Times report, Google has reinstated its robotics programme and called it Robotics at Google. It has produced robots utilising AI to learn skills on their own, such as navigating busy warehouses and sorting through unfamiliar objects.

One of such machines is a robotic arm demonstrating its ability to hover above a bin full of plenty objects as ping-pong balls, wooden blocks and plastic bananas, select individual items and sort them into separate smaller bins.

Ocado and Amazon already use similar technologies, but more basic versions.

Google believes its robots can automate distribution centres with greater reliability than humans.