Boston Dynamics is now officially part of Hyundai Motor Group. On Friday, Japan’s SoftBank Group announced the sale of around 80% of its stake in Boston Dynamics to South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor, a deal valuing the US robotics company at $1.1 billion.
SoftBank Group, which will retain 20% of the capital, bought Boston Dynamics in 2017 from Alphabet, Google’s parent company, for an unpublished amount. The robotics company – a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff before being acquired by Google in 2013 – is one of the world leaders in the sector of mobile and intelligent robots to perform various tasks (handling, inspection in hazardous areas, etc.).
Boston Dynamics became famous in 2005 when it introduced the four-legged robot dog being developed for the military. The company later created various upgraded versions of the machines: Cheetah, LittleDog, and Spot. The most popular are the Atlas humanoid robot and the Spot four-legged robot dog developed by the company. Its first commercial robot, the all-terrain quadruped Spot, which it started selling in June-2020 for $75,000.
“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. Hyundai and we 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,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics.
Like the Japanese Toyota, Hyundai Motor is also developing its own robots equipped with artificial intelligence, not only for its core business in mobility but also for logistics and for services such as health and personal care of the elderly.
According to a joint statement, the transaction between SoftBank Group and Hyundai is expected to be finalized by June 2021.