Hyundai Motor Group, the Seoul, South Korea-based global automotive group, is to acquire controlling interest in Boston Dynamics, a mobile robot company.
The deal – subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and expected to close by June of 2021 – values Boston Dynamics at $1.1 billion. Under the agreement, 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.
Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates – Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Mobis Co. and Hyundai Glovis Co. – and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung respectively participated in the acquisition.
By establishing a presence in the field of robotics, the acquisition will mark another major step for Hyundai Motor Group toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. To this end, Hyundai Motor Group has invested substantially in development of future technologies, including in fields such as autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots.
The deal is also expected to allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.
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. The company is also entering the logistics automation market with the Pick™, a computer vision-based depalletizing solution, and will introduce a mobile robot for warehouses in 2021.
Hyundai is a global automotive group operating in the automobile, steel, construction, machine tools, logistics, and other industries. With more than 16,000 employees working in 40 facilities across 10 states, including its $1.8 billion auto manufacturing plant in Alabama, Hyundai Motor Group is a an established investor, manufacturer, and innovator in the United States.
Over time, the company 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.