SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 14, 2020– Hyundai Motor Group will acquire 80% stake in Boston Dynamics in a deal that values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80% stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20% stake in Boston Dynamics after the closing of the transaction.
The acquisition will mark another major step for Hyundai Motor Group toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider including in fields such as autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots.
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 since sold hundreds of robots in a variety of industries, such as power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining. Boston Dynamics plans to expand the Spot product line early next year with an enterprise version of the robot with greater levels of autonomy and remote inspection capabilities, and the release of a robotic arm, which will be a breakthrough in mobile manipulation.
Boston Dynamics is also entering the logistics automation market with the industry-leading Pick, a computer vision-based depalletizing solution, and will introduce a mobile robot for warehouses in 2021.
Over time, Hyundai Motor Group plans to expand its presence into the humanoid robot market with the aim of developing humanoid robots for sophisticated services such as caregiving for patients at hospitals.
Hyundai Motor Group has been steadily investing in and developing robots with its proprietary technologies. At CES 2017, Hyundai Motor Company revealed MEX, which helps paraplegic patients walk once more. In 2018, Hyundai Motor introduced VEX and CEX, aimed to help alleviate the burden of workers in the workplace. Hyundai also demonstrated its capabilities in service robots by its pilot program of hotel service robot in June of 2019. It plans to deploy sales service robots into operation next year. Robotics Lab of Hyundai is devoted to the research and development of robots, while its affiliates continue to work on the commercial production of industrial robots.