Hyundai has acquired a controlling interest in the $1.1 billion pioneering robotics company Boston Dynamics.
The deal marks another major step in the company’s plans to transition into a smart mobility solution provider.
It’s subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, but is expected to be finalised by June next year.
Boston Dynamics is the established leader in developing agile, mobile robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence, enabling automation in difficult, dangerous, or unstructured environments.
The company launched its first commercial robot, Spot, in June this year and has sold hundreds of the robots to a variety of industries, such as power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining.
It plans to expand the Spot line early next year with an enterprise version of the robot that has greater levels of autonomy and remote inspection capabilities — plus the release of a robotic arm that will be a breakthrough in mobile manipulation.
Boston Dynamics will also enter the logistics automation market in 2021, with the industry leading Pick — a mobile robot for warehouses.
Hyundai believes the robotics market has the potential for significant growth in future.
It plans to invest in logistics robots to enhance efficiency and establish logistics automation, as well as service robots, which have broad application beyond that of commercial use in areas such as public security and safety.
In health-related public services, robots can be used to offer freedom of mobility for the disabled or the elderly.
Hyundai’s investment in Boston Dynamics furthers the company’s portfolio of technology to address opportunities for both service robots and logistics robots.
Over time, it plans to expand its presence into the humanoid robot market, with the aim of developing humanoid robots for sophisticated services such as care-giving for patients at hospitals.
It envisions robotics technologies to lend synergies to the new mobility solutions such as autonomous driving and UAM as well as smart factory platforms it hopes to develop in the near future.
Hyundai has been steadily investing in and developing robots with its proprietary technologies.
At CES 2017, Hyundai Motor Company revealed MEX, which helps paraplegic patients walk once more.
In 2018, Hyundai Motor introduced VEX and CEX, aimed to help alleviate the burden of workers in the workplace.
Hyundai also demonstrated its capabilities in service robots by its pilot program of hotel service robot in June, 2019.
It plans to deploy sales service robots into operation next year.
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