Hyundai Motor Group Buys 80% Stake in Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ Spot and Atlas

Hyundai Motor Group will acquire an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics in a deal that values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion.

The deal, struck with SoftBank Group Corp., comes after Hyundai Motor Group announced its strategic transformation into a smart mobility solution provider. Hyundai leaders say they envision the transformation of human life by combining world-leading robotics technologies with the company’s mobility expertise.

SoftBank will retain an approximately 20% stake in Boston Dynamics. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates — Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Mobis Co. and Hyundai Glovis Co. — respectively participated in the acquisition.

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Hyundai Motor Group, in its efforts toward its strategic transformation, has invested substantially in development of future technologies, including in the fields of autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence and robots. The deal is expected to allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.

“We are delighted to have Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots, join the Hyundai team. This transaction will unite capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility,” said Euisun Chung, chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “The synergies created by our union offer exciting new pathways for our companies to realize our goal — providing free and safe movement and higher plane of life experiences for humanity. We will also contribute to the society by enhancing its safety, security, public health amid global trends of aging society and digital transformation.”

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 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’ 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. 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,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics.

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, which will be a breakthrough in mobile manipulation. It is also entering the logistics automation market with Pick, a computer vision-based depalletizing solution, and will introduce a mobile robot for warehouses in 2021.

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