Boston Dynamics, also known with various names of its robots such as Spot, Stretch, BigDog, and Atlas, is a company manufacturing versatile as well as unique robots that can form a plethora of tasks. Boston Dynamics is a product from MIT, and was created in 1992; from thereon, it functioned primarily on DARPA Research grants. Then, a change was seen in 2013, when Google acquired the company because of its interest in robotics and machine learning. Finally, however, Google sold off the company in the year 2017 to Softbank.
According to a recent announcement by Hyundai Motor Group, Boston Dynamics has now been acquired by Hyundai, which would have a whopping 80% controlling stake in the company, and the remaining 20% would remain with Softbank the owner before this deal.
This deal is expected to benefit both the parties involved since Boston Dynamics has gone through several changes in ownership, thereby not allowing consistency and the subsequent change of plans involved. For Hyundai, this could prove a good move since Boston Dynamics has created some of the most impressive robots seen globally, and Hyundai seems to have a newfound interest in mobility solutions.
Boston Dynamics has been working for several years and has been manufacturing robots ever since, but it was only last year that it started selling its robots. The first robot sold was the robotic dog Spot for $74,500. The main reason for hesitation to come into the open market for selling could have been the lack of knowledge in mass production, but mass production is a regular job for Hyundai. Therefore this acquisition could mean more robots available freely in the open markets and more profit for both Boston Dynamics and the Hyundai Motor Group.
The current line of work
After almost 28 years of research, the company sold the robotic dog Spot, and it was sold to hundreds, including to SpaceX. Spot carries many accessories like a charging dock, a robotic arm that works in several ways, including opening doors and turning valves; it is also equipped with various cameras for easy remote inspection in areas inaccessible or simply too dangerous for humans. Boston Dynamics is also selling a software Pick for the robotic arms that would allow the third-party hardware to work intelligently and depalletize the boxes. The company is now working on two projects, Stretch, a depalletizing robot built explicitly for flexible work in warehouses and distribution centers of companies. The company claims that the robot would also be able to produce orders. Stretch is expected to be in the markets and ready for sale by 2022. The second project currently in the works is Atlas which is a humanoid research program.
Both the companies could leverage each other’s strengths in various departments. They could usher in an era of the robotics value chain from robot component manufacturing to intelligent logistics solutions. An expansion of the product line along with global sales and service footprints could also be in store for Boston Dynamics.