Hyundai Motor Group Set to Acquire Robotics Company Boston Dynamics

December 25, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

Hyundai Motor Group and SoftBank acquire stakes in Boston Dynamics to further the development of robotics technologies. 

Boston Dynamics is a leading provider of advanced mobile robots for customers within industrial and commercial markets across the world. The company's team of scientists and engineers have been working on robotic solutions for nearly 35 years.

Boston Dynamics incorporates athletic intelligence into its legged robots, using next-generation software and cutting-edge electronics along with mechanical designs based on animals to generate organic, stabilized movement. Recently, the company announced that Hyundai Motor Group and SoftBank Group Corp. (SoftBank) agreed to terms by which Hyundai Motor Group will acquire a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics.

The deal made between this pair generated a valuation of $1.1 billion for the mobile robot firm.


The Agreement

It was decided that Hyundai Motor Group will hold an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics under the agreement. Through one of its affiliates, the companies also agreed that Softbank would take around a 20% stake in Boston Dynamics following the transaction's closing.


Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics technology. Image courtesy of Boston Dynamics


Other transaction participants include the affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group - Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Mobis Co., and Hyundai Glovis Co. - and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung. The pending closure of the transaction is intended to close by June 2021. 

The deal between Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics is expected to generate mutual benefits. Hyundai Motor Group's own artificial intelligence (AI) and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) expertise and Boston Dynamics' robotics expertise will be a strong combination in pushing forward innovative technologies bearing a societal impact. Boston Dynamics' location in Silicon Valley and Boston, which are major robot cluster regions, will also help sourcing integral robotics talents and engaging in collaborations with competent partners.

With Hyundai Motor Group, Boston Dynamics will gain a strategic partner that will access Hyundai Motor Group's in-house manufacturing capability and global market reach. This will enable more exposure to Boston Dynamics' robot products. 


Bots on Legs

The unique aspect of Boston Dynamics bots is that they are designed to walk on two legs as humans do or, in some cases, four legs, as quadrupeds do. One notable innovation from the Boston team is its latest bot, SPOT.


The SPOT robot. Image courtesy of Boston Dynamics


SPOT is an expertly agile bot that can navigate busy traffic, tough terrain, and harsh conditions while enabling the conductance of routine inspection tasks and the accurate and safe capture of data.

The bot can carry up to 14kg of inspection equipment and can be programmed to complete repeatable autonomous missions to collect consistent data. SPOT can be set up to incorporate a 360o camera and site documentation software to save time on data capture and improve employee productivity in documenting and managing site progress. SPOT is just one of the innovative bots within Boston Dynamics' portfolio. To find out more about its technology, visit the company's site.


Advancing Robotics

For Hyundai Motor Group, the move to acquire Boston Dynamics is part of its ongoing endeavor to drive forward robotics technologies.

"This transaction will unite Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics' capabilities to spearhead innovation in future mobility. 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 Euisun Chung, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. 

Hyundai Motor Group intends to invest in both service and logistics robots to enhance efficiency, contribute to public security, and improve safety. Looking further into the future, the group wishes to consolidate a greater presence within the humanoid robot market. The endeavor will involve the development of humanoid bots for caregiving services in hospitals.