First reported by the Korea Economic Daily, the acquisition will likely see Hyundai integrate Boston Dynamics’ technology into its robotics business under the Hyundai robotics brand.
Hyundai may be known for its automobiles, but it also has an entire wing dedicated to robotics. Hyundai Robotics focuses on factory robotics and automation systems. In recent years, it has broadened its scope to encompass new research such as food tech, with KFC being its latest partner.
Above: Boston Dynamics’ 2013 WildCat prototype designed to traverse in difficult terrains. Imagine this thing galloping at you in the middle of the night. Source: Boston Dynamics YouTube channel
On the other hand, Boston Dynamics was created at MIT in 1998. During its 22-year operation, it has been owned by Google X, the research arm of Google, followed by SoftBank. The company rose to fame with its wacky robots performing stunts on YouTube and, more recently, its Spot robot. Spot is a sensing robot designed to scale a variety of terrain. It can be outfitted for healthcare, utilities, and public safety purposes.
In addition to the Spot, Boston Dynamics has the Handle and Pick robotic systems for moving boxes in the warehouse. Given the overlap between Hyundai’s and Boston Dynamics’ solutions, It’s clear that Hyundai has a vested interest in acquiring the company.
The company has not made an official press statement at the time of writing.