Hyundai Motor Group of South Korea has agreed to acquire a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics from current owner SoftBank Group of Japan. In a deal which values Boston Dynamics at US$1.1bn Hyundai will stump up the cash to buy an 80 per cent share, while SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20 per cent stake. The deal looks like a good fit with Hyundai and Boston Dynamics being able to pool complementary robotics technologies, as well as manufacturing and logictics.
The Boston Dynamics investment falls into Hyundai’s strategy of investing in technologies such as autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots. Thanks to the new tech taken under its wing Hyundai hopes it will be able to advance agile, mobile robots for use in its business operations, and those of its customers.
Both companies, joining together in a strategic partnership, made statements about the synergies that will apply. The best application of these technologies will help remove humans from dangerous, hazardous, and boring repetitive tasks. Many Bit-Tech readers will have read and seen examples of Boston Dynamics robots’ incredible mobility and dexterity so should help Hyundai push even further in advancing this industry. On the other side of the deal Hyundai has a great deal of AI and Human Robot Interaction expertise, as well as substantial capital, and solid customer base.
It is expected that the deal will close by June 2021, subject to regulatory approval.