Rumors of Willow Garage’s death may have been very premature, but they’ve come true all the same. Businessweek reports that company founder Scott Hassan shut down the robotics research pioneer in January to become the dedicated CEO of Suitable Technologies, Willow Garage’s telepresence-focused spinoff. The closure means that you won’t be seeing follow-ups to machines like the PR2 or TurtleBot 2.
In 2006, Scott Hassan, a prolific software engineer, started a research lab dedicated to robotics called Willow Garage. Since then, he’s funded the lab with about $20 million of his own money each year, hiring dozens of the world’s leading robotics engineers and giving them almost total freedom to pursue their often off-the-wall ideas. Willow Garage developed an operating system that’s become the standard software for most of the robotics industry. It also begat several startups that have been bought by tech companies including Google (GOOG).