Hyundai Motor Group has taken a big step into the world of mobile robotics, announcing that it has acquired a majority stake in Boston Dynamics from Japanese technology company Softbank. Best known for its once-impressive robotic dog Spot, Boston Dynamics will now partner with the automaker on technologies that enhance human mobility.
Boston Dynamics first put Spot on sale last June, and among its stable of nimble machines, the dog-like four-legged car is definitely the star of the show. We’ve seen it herd sheep in New Zealand, monitor COVID-19 patient vital signs and inspect construction sites, to list some of its responsibilities.
But Boston Dynamics is not the only pony. It has also developed an upside down humanoid robot called Atlas, a jumping wheeled robot called Handle and an enhanced version of Handle called Stretch, optimized for warehouse and project work. Ants will go on sale next year.
All of this seems to have caught the eye of Hyundai Motor Group, which is said to have negotiated last year with owner Softbank to buy the robot maker. The deal has now been formally executed and values Boston Dynamics at US$1.1 billion, with Hyundai now holding an 80% controlling stake and leaving Softbank with the remaining 20%.
Hyundai describes it as another step in its transformation into an “Intelligent Mobility Solution Provider”, alongside its other investments in autonomous driving, AI, urban flying and robot. The two will work together on robots for a wide range of applications, from logistics to manufacturing, and continue to expand Boston Dynamic’s line of mobile machines.
The promotional video for the announcement can be viewed below.
Hyundai x Boston Dynamics | As mobility evolves, so does humanity