Robot Dogs to Bark Korean: Hyundai Officially Buys Into Boston Dynamics

Spot robots get new owner 1 photo
Photo: Boston Dynamics
Just as expected, South Korean carmaker Hyundai and Japanese holding company SoftBank announced a deal for the sale of American robotics company Boston Dynamics. The official deal, as announced today, shows Hyundai paid more money than expected, and not for full control of the company.
Rumors pointed at the Koreans ponying-up $921 million for Boston. It turns out they agreed to $1.1 billion in exchange for an 80 percent stake, with the rest remaining with SoftBank.

So, what are we to expect? The car company says nothing, really, about the products it will be developing alongside the Americans. All we hear is fancy talk about “advancing robotics and mobility to realize progress for humanity,” and that under the new ownership, “robotics value chain ranging from robot component manufacturing to smart logistics solutions” will be created.

"The synergies created by our union offer exciting new pathways for our companies to realize our goal - providing free and safe movement and higher plane of life experiences for humanity," said in a statement Euisun Chung, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group.

"We will also contribute to the society by enhancing its safety, security, public health amid global trends of aging society and digital transformation."

It’s unclear yet if or how the change of ownership would affect Boston. The Americans took the world by storm this summer with the market launch of the Spot, a four-legged, headless robot with the potential to give us nightmares.

Spot is about as expensive as a Porsche, selling for $74,500, but it is not the only machine brewing in Massachusetts. The MIT-spawned group is working on the humanoid Atlas (also headless, and even spookier), Pick, and Handle - you can check out all of them in detail here.

Separately, Hyundai has been toying with such technologies for a while now, working on robots for industrial use. The Korean company also has plans for humanoid robots for tasks such as caregiving for patients at hospitals.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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