Artificial Intelligence: Spot Changes Hands Again; Hyundai Acquires Boston Dynamics

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Hyundai Motor will buy 80% of Boston Dynamics, valued at $1.1 billion.

Hyundai Motor Group (KRX: 005380) announced Friday its deal to buy out a controlling interest of 80% of robotics specialist Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group (TYO: 9984). Boston Dynamics makes Spot, that unnerving robotic dog (pictured above) with surprising capabilities. SoftBank will continue to hold a 20% interest in the company.

Boston has been valued at $1.1 billion for this transaction, however, financial terms were not disclosed. (Business Insider)

Hyundai’s plans for robotics and mobility

Hyundai said in a statement that the acquisition would advance its strategy to transform into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. Robotics, according to Hyundai, has the potential to have a beneficial impact on society as mobile robots become sophisticated enough to perform many commercial and risky functions.

Already Spot, the robotic dog developed by Boston Dynamics, herds sheep in New Zealand, checks out coronavirus patients in Boston, and patrols parks in Singapore to remind people of physical distancing.

Spot has gone viral around the globe, and in this video, see how skilfully (and determinedly) it opens a door.

Boston is also famous for its two-legged humanoid-like Atlas robot. It can run and jump over obstacles such as a log.

Hyundai says the combination of the technologies of the two companies would “propel development and commercialization of advanced robots.”

Hyundai is a very future-driven company. It has invested in autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots.

Hyundai-Boston Dynamics-SoftBank synergy

“This transaction will unite the capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility,” said 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 an aging society and digital transformation.”

Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics, said the company had succeeded in bringing to market a robot that could automate repetitive and dangerous tasks in workplaces designed for human-level mobility. As a result, its commercial business has grown rapidly. The company was selling hundreds of robots for application in power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining.

Boston Dynamics is an MIT spin-off that was acquired by Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and then later sold to SoftBank. SoftBank’s deal with Hyundai is one of the biggest transactions ever in robotics.

Related Story:  Boston Dynamics’ ‘Spot’ Robot To Work On Construction Sites

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