Hyundai Motor to buy robot maker Boston Dynamics

It’s the company behind the strangely lifelike four-legged robots.

Now Boston Dynamics is about to get a new owner.

Hyundai Motor is buying an 80% stake in the U.S.-based firm from Japan’s SoftBank Group.

The deal values the robot maker at 1.1 billion dollars.

Boston Dynamics creations have tried everything from herding sheep, to sniffing out radiation in Chernobyl.

This year the’ve even enforced social distancing:

“Let's keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety, and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart.”

The firm has, however, struggled to build a commercial business.

Now Hyundai sees an opportunity.

It wants to use the robot technology to expand automation at its unionised car plants.

The tech could also play a role in designing self-driving cars, drones and delivery robots.

Hyundai says it sees robotics making up a fifth of its future business.

Analysts say the challenge will be to show Boston Dynamics can be a money maker, and compete with cheaper Chinese rivals.

The company was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992.

It was later bought by Google, before being taken over by SoftBank in 2017.

Video Transcript

- It's the company behind the strangely lifelike four-legged robots. Now Boston Dynamics is about to get a new owner. Hyundai Motor and its chairman are jointly buying 80% of the US-based firm from Japan's SoftBank Group. The deal values the robot maker at $1.1 billion. Boston Dynamics creations have tried everything from herding sheep to sniffing out radiation in Chernobyl. This year, they've even enforced social distancing.

- Let's keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you.

- The firm has, however, struggled to build a commercial business. Now Hyundai sees an opportunity. It wants to use the robot technology to expand automation at its unionized car plants. The tech could also play a role in designing self-driving cars, drones, and delivery robots.

Hyundai says it sees robotics making up a fifth of its future business. Analysts say the challenge will be to show Boston Dynamics can be a moneymaker and compete with cheaper Chinese rivals. The company was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. It was later bought by Google, before being taken over by SoftBank in 2017.