Although robots and robotics have become hot topics in recent years, the actual robots that make it to the news aren’t exactly like the robots of Hollywood. Flying drones, delivery bots, concierge bots, and even waiter bots all share in the same basic nature but are quite far removed from the robots of imagination and fiction. Boston Dynamics is probably both famous and infamous for robots that almost induce nightmares and the company is reportedly being sold off to a car maker where its future robotics ventures remain unknown.
It actually isn’t a surprise that Hyundai would be interested in robotics to the point of buying up a globally known company. In fact, almost all major car manufacturers these days have large investments in robotics. Most of those, however, revolve around industrial factory robots as well for assisted mobility.
In contrast, Boston Dynamics, which traces its roots to MIT before a short stint as a Google company, covers a wide range of interests and forms of robotics. There’s the humanoid Atlas, for example, but its most popular or infamous ones are the dog-like robots like Spot.
Despite Boston Dynamics’ popularity or notoriety in media coverage, the company and its robots have largely been deemed to be unprofitable. More recently, however, Spot’s design has been used around the world to aid in anti-COVID-19 measures.
Whether Boston Dynamics’ experiments in robotics will continue publicly under new management is still unknown at this point. Hyundai, which is reportedly buying the robotics company from SoftBank for just $921 million, will most likely put the designs and technologies to different uses. Official confirmation of the deal is still unavailable but The Korean Economic Daily claims it will be finalized this December 10.