Hyundai has officially confirmed long-time rumors that it’s acquiring a robotic company as it announced the successful purchase of a controlling stake in robotics company Boston Dynamics.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hyundai will hold an approximately 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics, while previous owner SoftBank will retain the remaining 20 percent. The deal values Boston Dynamics at $1.1 billion.
“The deal came as Hyundai Motor Group envisions the transformation of human life by combining world-leading robotics technologies with its mobility expertise,” Hyundai said in a press release Friday.
Boston Dynamics, best known to many people for its mobile robot dog Spot, as well as videos of humanoid robots performing scarily dextrous stunts, also produces the Handle, a robot made for moving boxes in warehouses, as well as Pick, a robotic, AI-enhanced solution for depalletizing.
The company was founded as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was acquired by Google X, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in 2013, which sold it to SoftBank in 2017.
Hyundai is no stranger to the field either, with investments in autonomous driving, smart factories, AI, and robotics.
Products developed by its robotics arm, Hyundai Robotics, include a number of static, industrial robots, so there’s plenty of space for synergy with Boston Dynamics, which largely specializes in mobile robots.
Hyundai also noted that Boston Dynamics is based in Boston and Silicon Valley, “which is advantageous to sourcing key robotics talents and collaborating with competent partners.”