Hyundai Acquires Boston Dynamics

Credit: Unsplash

The robotics company is now under the Hyundai banner.

In addition to the cars it’s known primarily for, Hyundai has expanded in recent years into the field of robotics. The company’s primary interests are in creating robots to serve in hospital caregiving roles, as well as proxies for workers in potentially dangerous professions like disaster relief and construction. In an effort to forward these goals, Hyundai has made a new acquisition, one that should be familiar to anyone with an interest in robotics research.

Hyundai announced today that after several months of talks, they had officially struck a deal to buy a controlling stake in robotics company Boston Dynamics from its current owner, Softbank. Hyundai will obtain an 80% stake in the company for a $1.1 billion price tag, while an affiliate of Softbank will maintain control over the remaining 20%. This deal is projected to be finalized in June 2021.

Boston Dynamics has become prolific in recent years thanks to their development of the animal-like robot Spot, as well as the humanoid robot Atlas. These robots have drawn attention on social media platforms like Twitter for their feats of navigation, precision, and even acrobatics.

In the company’s own words, Hyundai took an interest in Boston Dynamics because it “possesses multiple key technologies for high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation, and intelligence.”

Additionally, the acquisition serves a practical purpose, as Boston Dynamics has a presence in both Boston and Silicon Valley. These convenient locations will make it easy to organize collaborations between researchers from Boston Dynamics and Hyundai.

Boston Dynamics’ CEO Robert Playter is excited for the opportunity to join forces with a company as well-established as Hyundai. “Boston Dynamics’ commercial business has grown rapidly as we’ve brought to market the first robot that can automate repetitive and dangerous tasks in workplaces designed for human-level mobility. We and Hyundai share a view of the transformational power of mobility and look forward to working together to accelerate our plans to enable the world with cutting edge automation, and to continue to solve the world’s hardest robotics challenges for our customers.”

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4 years ago