Hyundai confirms $880 million acquisition of Boston Dynamics
Spot's paydayBy Rob Thubron 10 comments
In a nutshell: Boston Dynamics, the company behind a strange and often terrifying series of robots, has been acquired by Hyundai Motor Group for around $880 million.
Reports of Hyundai's interest in Boston Dynamics arrived last month. The robotics firm has changed hands several times since it was spun off from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology project in 1992, having been acquired by Google in 2013, which sold it to SoftBank in 2017. The companies never revealed how much the deals were worth.
Hyundai said the purchase values Boston Dynamics at $1.1 billion. The automotive giant has agreed to buy an 80 percent stake in the robot maker, making the deal worth around $880 million. SoftBank will hang on to the remaining 20 percent through an affiliate.
One of Boston Dynamics' best-known creations is its Spot robot. The Massachusetts State Police bomb squad had famously used the canine-like machine, which went on sale earlier this year for an eye-watering $74,500.
Another product from Boston Dynamics' stable is Atlas. The bipedal robot has evolved from performing parkour and backflips in 2017 to leaping over logs and performing gymnastics last year.
As reported by Reuters, Hyundai Motor Group's chairman Euisun Chung said robotics would account for 20 percent of the company's future business, with car-making taking up 50 percent, followed by urban air mobility at 30 percent.
Hyundai said Boston Dynamics has "multiple key technologies" of interest to the company, including those related to "perception, navigation, and intelligence." It added that both firms could "leverage each other's respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction, and automation."