Hyundai buys controlling stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics
Hyundai has confirmed that the company has purchased a controlling stake, an 80 percent, in Boston Dynamics from SoftBank in a deal that is worth around $921 million, valuing the robot maker at $1.1 billion. This deal has reportedly been in the works for some time, marks Hyundai taking a major step towards consumer robotics.
After this acquisition, Hyundai holds an 80 percent stake in the company while SoftBank continues to hold the remaining 20 percent through its affiliates.
Hyundai says that the deal was made with the goal of advancing robotics and mobility to realize progress for humanity. It further added that the company envisions the transformation of human life through the combination of its mobility expertise and Boston Dynamics’ robots.
For the uninitiated, Boston Dynamics started as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and created robots using DARPA funding. In December 2013, the company was acquired by Google for research and development, and in 2017, it was sold to SoftBank.
There have been two major offerings from the company — Atlast, a humanoid bipedal robot that can run and do backflips, and Spot, which the company started selling in June 2020 for about $74,500 for automating patrolling and inspecting warehouse.
While Boston Dynamics has been quite popular and many of its videos or product showcase have gone viral, the company hasn’t been profitable recently. The acquisition by Hyundai, and the appointment of a new CEO, could help the company steer towards profitability.