Hyundai Motor Acquires Controlling Interest in Boston DynamicsBy Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 06/23/2021 - 12:17
Softbank Group and Hyundai Motor Group announced on Monday the completion of Hyundai's acquisition of Boston Dynamics from Japanese SoftBank. Although financial details were not disclosed, the deal valued the robot company at US$1.1 billion. Hyundai now has an 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics while SoftBank's affiliates retain the remaining 20 percent. "Today, we begin a new chapter of mobility with Boston Dynamics," said Hyundai during the announcement.
Boston Dynamics is a well-established leader in the development of agile, mobile robots that have been successfully integrated into the business operations of many of the world’s leading industrial firms. MBN had previously reported on the use of Boston Dynamics' robots to scan manufacturing facilities. Ford Motor Company is among the many companies using these technologies. "This cutting-edge technology allows Ford Motor Company engineers to save money, retool facilities faster and bring new vehicles to market sooner," said Mark Goderis, Ford's Digital Engineer Manager at the time.
Advanced robotics offer companies opportunities for rapid growth while making a positive impact on society by making their work safer and more productive, said SoftBank and Hyundai. In Ford's case, for example, manually scanning a facility can cost about US$300,000 and take at least two weeks; using the robots the process takes less than a week at a fraction of the cost, explained Goderis.
Boston Dynamics has hundreds of robots operating in a variety of industries including power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas and mining, said the company’s statement. The company also introduced the dog-like robot, Spot, and the first commercial robot designed specifically designed for warehouses and distribution centers, Stretch.
Hyundai's Long-Term Strategy
"By acquiring Boston Dynamics and securing a leading presence in the field of robotics, the Group takes another major step toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider," said Hyundai on a statement.
The South Korean auto group, home to Hyundai Brand, Kia and IONIQ, has aggressively betted on new technologies ranging from urban air mobility partnerships with giants like Uber, to hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, artificial intelligence, smart factories and robots.
In Mexico, Kia –with less than 10 years in the market– has become the country’s fifth largest seller while Hyundai brand remains in 10th place. Hyundai Motor Group has a manufacturing facility in Nuevo Leon that is the fifth largest producer in the country.
"With more than 270,000 Kia drivers in the country, we hope our customer base will help us by providing good recommendations for our products; Kia drivers demonstrate a great level of satisfaction and are likely to buy from us again," said Horacio Chávez, CEO of Kia Mexico, to MBN.
“Younger generations have changed their purchasing preferences when it comes to the acquisition of a personal vehicle," said Claudia Marquez, CEO of Hyundai Motor de Mexico, during Mexico Automotive Summit 2021.