Automaker Hyundai Motor Group has announced it has completed a deal to acquire a controlling interest in robotics manufacturer Boston Dynamics. The deal is costing Hyundai $1.1 billion and gives the automaker group approximately an 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics. SoftBank retains a roughly 20 percent stake in Boston Dynamics after the deal’s close through one of its affiliates.
Hyundai believes that establishing a presence in the field of robotics will mark another significant step for Hyundai Motor Group in its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. Hyundai Motor Group has made significant investments into future technologies, including autonomous driving, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, AI, and robotics.
Hyundai believes advanced robotics will bring opportunities for rapid growth with the potential to positively impact society in multiple ways. Closing the deal will also allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s manufacturing, logistics, construction, and automation strengths.
Softbank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son says SoftBank is thrilled to partner with Hyundai to accelerate Boston Dynamics’ path to commercialization. Boston Dynamics is known for producing creepy but capable robots that feature advanced mobility, dexterity, and intelligence. The robots are used in various industries where tasks require automation or are dangerous for humans to perform.
The first commercial robot from Boston Dynamics was called Spot and launched in June 2020. So far, hundreds have been sold to various industries, including power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining. A new Spot product line is expected next year with increased autonomy and remote inspection capabilities. Boston Dynamics also plans to release a robotic arm expected to be a breakthrough in mobile manipulation.