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Google’s ATAP Division Shuts Down Experimental Battery Project After 9 Months

April 1, 2015 - Written By Ed Modlin

Google has killed a project in the early stages of development that would’ve given consumers a battery which would be capable of possessing as much as 5 to 10 times longer life than what is currently available from smartphones on the market today. The project for extending battery life wasn’t even given the two years most projects get, as Google reportedly shut this one down in about nine months as it’s said that it had difficulties getting off the ground.

The project was initiated by Google ATAP, a research and development unit located inside of the Mountain View complex, which is also the same unit that has been developing technologies such as the PROJECT ARA modular smartphone with interchangeable parts, and the PROJECT TANGO 3D mapping tablet, both of which could be revolutionary developments in the industry. Most projects under development at Google ATAP are developed using a rather low tolerance like mentality, meaning that if it isn’t working the division kills the project. A two-year limit was implemented by Dr. Regina Dugan, the ex DARPA chief, who in her days at DARPA was known as a maverick. She was also in charge of research at the Pentagon and was then brought into Google after the purchase of Motorola in 2012 to become the chief researcher for the search engine giant. Google agreed to sell parts of Motorola to Lenovo in early 2014 for $2.9 Billion, and that sale was finalized around the beginning of the year, however, ATAP was not part of the deal which stayed on at Google as part of their assets.

Whether the project is successful or not by the two-year mark, the project that was under development will either be brought into Google for later development, or scrapped. Successful projects that have been developed, such as PROJECT ARA which is undergoing further testing in Puerto Rico, are also given an extension on the two-year limit,  but in either case, the Project Manager is let go, in order for the unit to maintain a fresh perspective on any particular project. The actions of Google ATAP have apparently impressed the company’s leadership (especially Eric Schmitt) more so than the other development unit at Google known as Google X, that new facilities are in the planning stages for the unit.