Hyundai is reportedly interested in buying Boston Dynamics from SoftBank

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,692   +124
Staff member
The big picture: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is reportedly discussing the idea of offloading robot maker Boston Dynamics to South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company. While incredibly advanced and capable, the fact that Boston Dynamics has been shuffled around so much in recent memory suggests its owners are struggling to turn a profit with it.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the deal is valued at as much as $1 billion and would give the automaker control of the robotics firm. Nothing has been finalized or publicly announced as of this writing, and the talks could still fall through, the sources added.

Should a deal come to fruition, Boston Dynamics would again find itself with a new owner. The company was acquired by Google in late 2013 for an undisclosed sum. A few years later in 2017, the tech titan decided to sell the division to SoftBank for an unknown amount.

Boston Dynamics has fascinated – and at times, frightened – the Internet with its various creations. Under SoftBank, Boston Dynamics made its Spot robot available to lease through an early adopter program in 2019. This year, the robotic dog was finally offered for outright purchase for around $75,000.

Hyundai would presumably adapt the technology for use in its auto manufacturing plants.

Masthead credit: Roman Korotkov

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Bulllee

Posts: 67   +43
Been following the article regarding the UK army 25% robotic future on here and think that recent developments on this and that were the orange mans limited information he was not given bigly.
Third world stuff really..second world on the horizon.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,597   +6,114
Hmmmmm ..... and there could be a car on the horizon that runs, does flips, jumps over logs and a whole host of new high performance tricks ...... Dramamine is optional ....
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,692   +963
While incredibly advanced and capable, the fact that Boston Dynamics has been shuffled around so much in recent memory suggests its owners are struggling to turn a profit with it.
that's because Boston Dynamics is an R&D house, not a company. When they were independant, they didn't try to sell anything, they just made robots. When they were bought by Google, they didn't try to sell anything, they just made robots (which ultimately led to their sale to SoftBank). Now SoftBank is looking to sell them because SoftBank is on a selling-spree of all their R&D houses. If Hyundai buys them, I am sure they'll be operating under Hyundai's robotics division, which will probably be the best fit for Boston Dynamics, as they mainly just do research.

The value of Boston Dynamics isn't any one product, it is their IP. They have figured out some bipedal control schemes that no one else has. Its not quite inertia control, nor gravity control. It seems to be this weird combination of the two. Boston Dynamics doesn't publish any papers on their biped and quadped motion research, so no one is really sure how exactly they achieve their results. This is why Hyundai is probably interested in them, because they own a valuable and unique IP (that has resisted reverse engineering by research universities for a couple of decades now). If SoftBank is shopping Boston Dynamics around, then I expect either Hyundai or Honda to buy them - both of their Robotics departments have alumni of Boston Dynamics at or near the helm, so either is likely.
 
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