Hyundai to take over robot-maker Boston Dynamics

Hyundai Motor Group just bought itself a new robotic pet.

The South Korean automaker announced plans Friday to take a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics, the cutting-edge tech firm known for its unsettlingly advanced dog-like robot.

Hyundai said it will buy about 80 percent of Boston Dynamics from Japanese investment giant SoftBank Group in a deal valuing the robot maker at $1.1 billion. SoftBank, which acquired the company from Google parent Alphabet in 2017, will hang onto a roughly 20 percent stake.

The companies didn’t disclose the price or other financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by June of next year.

Founded in 1992 when it was spun out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Dynamics has taken the internet by storm with eerily agile creations such as “Spot,” a four-legged robot that can climb stairs, open doors and carry objects.

Spot can also be a crime fighter — the NYPD brought one to the scene of an October shooting when the gunman holed up in a basement.

Boston Dynamics has also developed a two-legged robot called “Atlas” that can do somersaults and jump into the air — and it looks like something out of a “Terminator” movie.

Hyundai said it plans to make investments in so-called service robots like Spot — which could be put to use for security and safety purposes — and expand into the “humanoid robot market” with the goal of providing “sophisticated services” such as caring for patients in hospitals.

More practically, the automaker says Boston Dynamics’ technology will also help it expand automation in its car factories and develop autonomous vehicles.

“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 Hyundai chairman Euisun Chung, who will own about a quarter of his company’s stake in Boston Dynamics.

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