Hyundai has agreed to buy an 80% stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank, the South Korean automaker said Friday. The deal values the robot firm at $1.1 billion, Hyundai said, suggesting it offered $880 million for the 80% stake. Boston Dynamics is best known for its robot dog, Spot, which went viral. Hyundai can leverage robot technology to expand automation at its unionized car factories, as well as design autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars, drones, and delivery robots, analysts said. Read more: The next big thing in classrooms: 'Zoom on wheels' robots are seeing a surge in demand The new stake comes after the newly promoted Hyundai Motor Group chairman, Euisun Chung, pledged to reduce reliance on traditional car manufacturing, saying car-making would only make up half of the company's future business.
SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Group and its chairman have agreed to buy a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group Corp in a deal that values the U.S.-based robot maker at $1.1 billion. The South Korean automaker group said on Friday the purchase would help it expand automation in its vehicle factories and design autonomous cars, drones and robots, as it seeks to turn itself from a manufacturer into a broader mobility service provider. Hyundai Motor Group said the deal, which involves a new share issue, would give the company and its chief a combined 80% stake in Boston Dynamics, while Softbank will retain 20%. Newly promoted Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung has pledged to reduce reliance on traditional car manufacturing. He has said robotics would account for 20% of the firm's future business, while car-making would account for 50% and urban air transport would make up the remaining 30%.
Boston Dynamics' Spot has found itself a new job, and thankfully this time it doesn't involve a potential battlefield role. Hyundai has started testing the robot at a Kia manufacturing plant in South Korea where it will be one of the tools the company uses to ensure the facility is safe for workers. The pilot represents the first public collaboration between the two companies since Hyundai acquired a majority stake in Boston Dynamics this past June. You'll notice the Spot featured in the video Hyundai released looks different from the robot we've seen in past clips. That's because the automaker's Robotics Lab outfitted it with what is essentially a backpack that features a host of enhancements, including a thermal camera, LiDAR and more powerful computing resources for handling additional AI tasks.
Hyundai is betting big on American electric vehicle sales. The automaker has struck a deal with Georgia to build its first dedicated EV factory in the US. The 2,923-acre plant near Savannah will make cars and batteries when production is projected to start in the first half of 2025. Construction starts in early 2023. The company expects to manufacture 300,000 EVs per year at the facility, covering a "wide range" of models.
Hyundai Motor Group has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in leading robotics company Boston Dynamics in a deal that values the firm at $1.1 billion. Through the deal, Hyundai now owns an 80 per cent stake in Boston Dynamics while SoftBank owns the remaining 20 per cent through one of its affiliates. Between 2013 and 2017, the company was owned by Google before it was sold to SoftBank for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of Boston Dynamics marks an important step in Hyundai's transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider that in addition to robotics, has seen the South Korean company make significant investments into autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, Urban Air Mobility, and smart factories. Hyundai says that, with its new acquisition, it will create a robotics value chain from robot component manufacturing through to smart logistics solutions.