Hyundai Motor Group and SoftBank Group Corp. (SoftBank) today agreed on main terms of the transaction pursuant to which Hyundai Motor Group will acquire a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics in a deal that values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion.
Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80% stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20% stake in Boston Dynamics after the closing of the transaction. Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates – Hyundai Motor Co, Hyundai Mobis Co and Hyundai Glovis Co – and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung respectively participated in the acquisition.
The deal is also expected to allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.
Aiming to be a smart mobility solutions provider
By establishing a leading presence in the field of robotics, the acquisition will mark another major step for Hyundai Motor Group toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. To propel this transformation, Hyundai Motor Group has invested substantially in development of future technologies, including in fields such as autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots.
“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. 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,” said Euisun Chung, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. "We will also contribute to the society by enhancing its safety, security, public health amid global trends of aging society and digital transformation.”
Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group said, “Boston Dynamics is at the heart of smart robotics. We are thrilled to partner with Hyundai, one of the world’s leading global mobility companies, to accelerate the company’s path to commercialization. Boston Dynamics has a very bright future and we remain invested in the company’s success.”
“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 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 of 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 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.
Boston Dynamics is also entering the logistics automation market with the industry leading Pick, a computer vision-based depalletising solution, and will introduce a mobile robot for warehouses in 2021.
Strategic move for Hyundai
Hyundai Motor Group's decision to acquire Boston Dynamics is based on its growth potential and wide range of capabilities. Boston Dynamics possesses multiple key technologies for high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation, and intelligence. Also, Boston Dynamics is located in Boston and Silicon Valley, both major robot cluster regions, which is advantageous to sourcing key robotics talents and collaborating with competent partners.
Also, Hyundai Motor Group's AI and Human Robot Interaction (HRI) expertise is highly synergistic with Boston Dynamics's 3D vision, manipulation, and bipedal/quadruped expertise.