Hyundai has purchased Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group in a deal valued at $1.1 billion.
Announced on Friday on the back of rumors of the purchase that first began to circle in November, Hyundai Motor Group and Chairman Euisun Chun said that they had agreed to acquire an 80% controlling stake in Boston Dynamics, while 20% will be held by SoftBank through one of its affiliates.
Financial terms beyond the valuation of Boston Dynamics at $1.1 billion were not disclosed.
Hyundai says the deal will “mark another major step toward its strategic transformation into a smart mobility solution provider,” and will complement existing investments in sustainability, eco-vehicles, smart factories — otherwise known as Industry 4.0 — artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics.
Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics focuses on advanced robotic designs suitable for commercial applications. In particular, the company has been working toward robotics suitable for hazardous environments by creating products with high levels of dexterity and mobility.
The robotics and engineering group, perhaps best known for its Spot robot — launched commercially this year — intends to enter the logistics automation market soon with Pick, and a mobile robot suitable for warehouses is also expected to become available next year.
Hyundai says that Boston Dynamics has massive growth potential and its portfolio contains “multiple key technologies” of interest to the motor group. In particular, technologies related to “perception, navigation, and intelligence” are noted.
Where Boston Dynamics is based, in Boston and Silicon Valley, was also a factor in the acquisition. Hyundai calls these areas “major robot cluster regions” which are ideal for tapping top talent in the robotics field and “collaborating with competent partners.”
Hyundai says that both of the companies can “leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction, and automation.”
“Boston Dynamics’ commercial business has grown rapidly as we’ve brought to market the first robot that can automate repetitive and dangerous tasks in workplaces designed for human-level mobility,” commented Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “We and Hyundai share a view of the transformational power of mobility and look forward to working together to accelerate our plans to enable the world with cutting edge automation, and to continue to solve the world’s hardest robotics challenges for our customers.”
The transaction is expected to close by June 2021, subject to regulatory approval.