Hyundai buys robotics firm Boston Dynamics from SoftBank

The South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Group has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in US-based robotics company Boston Dynamics in a $1.1 billion deal.

While Hyundai became the owner of 80% of the robotics company, Japanese telecommunications firm Softbank, through one of its affiliates, retains the remaining 20%. Other details were not disclosed.

Hyundai continues to invest in future technologies such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, and robots. By acquiring a majority stake in Boston Dynamics and securing a leading presence in the field of robotics, the carmaker is “taking another major step towards the strategic transformation into a smart mobility solutions provider.” To accelerate the process, Hyundai is investing heavily in the development of future technologies, including autonomous driving technologies, artificial intelligence, urban air mobility (UAM) projects, smart factories, and robots.

Hyundai believes that the Boston Dynamics’ robotics technology could be used to develop self-driving vehicles and small aircraft transportation in urban areas.

Boston Dynamics is active in the development of agile, mobile robots that have been successfully integrated into the business operations of many of the world’s leading industrial companies. The robotics company first put its Spot robot dog on sale in June last year. Since then, we have seen it go to work inspecting construction sites, herding sheep in New Zealand, tracking the vital signs of COVID-19 patients, pulling rikshaw, and there are many more on the list.

The company has also developed a backflipping humanoid robot Atlas, wheeled robot Handle, and also recently unveiled Stretch, its first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers.

The Hyundai Motor Group reportedly entered talks last year with owner Softbank to buy the robot-maker. The deal has now been made official.

The deal should also allow the group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction, and automation. Together, the companies will create a robotics value chain, from manufacturing robot components to intelligent logistics solutions. In addition, the group plans to support Boston Dynamics’ expansion into global products and sales.

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