Hyundai Motor Group is set to acquire a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics – the U.S. engineering and robotics design company famous to most for developing robots with incredibly fluid movement and that are the stars of many an online viral video (see below). The deal value values Boston Dynamics at $US1.1 billion ($AU1.42 billion) and Hyundai will hold a stake of about 80 per cent of the company.
Boston Dynamics produces highly capable mobile robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence, enabling automation in difficult, dangerous, or unstructured environments. The company launched sales of its first commercial robot, Spot, in June of 2020 and has sold hundreds to a variety of industries, such as power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining. The company is also entering the logistics automation market with the Pick – a computer vision-based depalletising solution – and will introduce a mobile robot for warehouses in 2021.
Boston Dynamics possesses multiple key technologies for high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation, and intelligence.
Hyundai says the deal will establish it as a leading presence in the field of robotics and marks ‘another major step for Hyundai Motor Group toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider’.
The company adds that advanced robotics offer opportunities for rapid growth with the potential to positively impact society in multiple ways. Boston Dynamics is the leader in developing agile robots that have been successfully integrated into various business operations, and the deal is also expected to allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.
Hyundai says the robotics market has potential for significant growth in the future, and it plans to invest not only in logistics robots to enhance efficiency and establish logistics automation, but also service robots, which have usage potential beyond commercial use in areas such as public security and safety. In health-related public services, robots can be used to offer freedom of mobility for the disabled or the elderly. The company plans to expand its presence into the humanoid robot market with the aim of developing robots for services such as caregiving in hospitals.
“We are delighted to have Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots, join the Hyundai team. This transaction will unite capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility. The synergies created by our union offer exciting new pathways for our companies to realise our goal – providing free and safe movement and higher plane of life experiences for humanity,” 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 aging society and digital transformation.”