Spot the Robot Dog and Friends Sell for a Cool Trillion (Korean Won)

Boston Dynamics' Spot

Boston Dynamics’ Spot

Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea has purchased U.S. robotics company Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group (Tokyo) for $921 million, according published reports in Korea, as yet unconfirmed by any of the three companies. The purchase price is equivalent to 1,002,564,350 Korean won at today’s exchange rate.¬†

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based robot maker has produced the four-legged robot dog Spot, the two-wheeled warehouse mover Handle, a vision-processing depalletizer Pick, and the running, jumping whole-body humanoid Atlas.

This is the third large corporate owner for Boston Dynamics, which was founded by former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Marc Raibert  in 1992. Alphabet/Google bought the company in 2013 and sold it to SoftBank in 2017.

Hyundai recently predicted that robotics will account for 20% of its future business. It officially launched its Hyundai Robotics division early in 2020. It has also invested in autonomous vehicle startup 42dot and Realtime Robotics, and created a $4 billion autonomous vehicle joint venture, Motional, with auto supplier Aptiv.

In June of this year, Boston Dynamics started selling Spot for $74,500, and its various applications have been the subject of several recent Inside Unmanned Systems stories. Reported sales of more than 400 dogs have generated over $30 million.

Spot can carry up to 14kg of inspection equipment. Controllers can direct it from distance with a tablet application, taking advantage of onboard stereo cameras for monitoring. Spot can be
“trained” (programmed) to perform repeated autonomous data-gathering missions.

Serious inquiries can sign up for a chance to experience the future of robotics with a company called Formant, to spend up to an hour with the Formant team, remotely operating a Boston Dynamics Spot around San Francisco.