Hyundai is formally buying a controlling stake in robotic maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank in a deal that values the corporate at $1.1 billion, the company announced today. The deal has been within the works for some time, based on latest a report from Bloomberg, and marks a serious step into shopper robotics for Hyundai. Hyundai is taking a virtually 80 p.c stake within the firm whereas its earlier proprietor, Softbank, will retain round 20 p.c via an affiliate.
Hyundai says its funding will assist its growth of service and logistics robots, however that over time it hopes to construct extra humanoid robots for jobs like “caregiving for sufferers at hospitals.” Different areas of curiosity embrace autonomous driving and good factories.
Boston Dynamics began as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how. The corporate has created robots utilizing DARPA funding, like BigDog, however is greatest identified for the viral fame its robots have discovered on-line. Its two fundamental stars have been Atlas, a humanoid bipedal robotic that can run and do backflips, and Spot, a smaller quadrupedal “canine” that’s been examined in quite a lot of situations, from sheep herding to assisting health care workers during the pandemic. The corporate began promoting Spot in June 2020 for $74,500, concentrating on companies searching for an automatic option to patrol and examine warehouses. Regardless of the viral fame, Boston Dynamics has by no means been worthwhile, which might change under a new CEO and Hyundai’s guidance.
It’s been a protracted journey from its begin in 1992 to being valued at $1.1 billion. Boston Dynamics spent time under Google, primarily targeted on analysis and growth, and extra lately had a stint with SoftBank, a deal that former Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert introduced with the lofty “mission to push the boundaries of what superior robots can do and to create helpful purposes in a better and extra linked world.”
Hyundai’s personal industrial robots have been targeted on factories in its automotive consolation zone, together with a “car with legs” concept that the corporate imagined may very well be utilized by first responders to journey throughout troublesome terrain.