Hyundai Buys Majority Stake in Boston Dynamics
A Win-Win Partnership
Hyundai (HYMTF), the South Korean automaker, announced it is purchasing a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics, the semi-infamous robotics company. The investment values Boston Dynamics at $1.1 billion. Through the deal, Hyundai will own an 80% stake in the company and SoftBank (SFTBY) will control the remaining 20%.
The deal will have advantages for both companies. Boston Dynamics will gain access to Hyundai’s in-house manufacturing resources, which will allow it to scale production of its products. Hyundai, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to incorporate Boston Dynamics’ technology into a number of projects it is working on, from automated factories to self-driving cars to delivery robots.
P.S. SoftBank is also a SoFi investor.
Hyundai’s Investments in Robotics
This deal marks the third time Boston Dynamics has changed hands in just seven years. The company was founded at MIT in 1992 and operated as a research firm until Google (GOOGL) bought it in 2013. It was then sold to SoftBank in 2017.
Hyundai has recently made several investments in the robotics industry. It is working on commercializing autonomous driving systems through a partnership with Aptiv (APTV). Hyundai is also developing an all-terrain “walking” car called Elevate. The company says its Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) could be used for disaster relief, or even for missions to other planets.
Boston Dynamics’ Projects
Boston Dynamics has been at work on science fiction-like projects of its own. It has built and launched a robot that can perform repeated tasks with human-level mobility.
The company also gained attention for its four-legged robot, nicknamed Spot, which can climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain. Spot costs $74,500 and has not sold in large quantities. But now that Boston Dynamics has partnered with Hyundai, the technology used for Spot and other Boston Dynamics projects will be leveraged in new ways.
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