According to The Korea Economic Daily, Hyundai Motors is acquiring Boston Dynamics. The publication says that Softbank has agreed to sell the robot maker for 1 trillion won (US $ 917 million) and that the acquisition will be finalized at a board meeting today, Dec. 10. The companies have been in talks about a sale since at least the beginning of November, based on an earlier report from Bloomberg.
Boston Dynamics is known for its nightmare-inducing (or strangely cute, depending on your perspective) robotic dog Spot, which it began selling for $ 75,000 in mid-2020. The four-legged robot can climb stairs, herd sheep and pull a rickshaw. Earlier this year, the machine also helped caregivers remotely triage patients suspected of having COVID-19 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The company is also behind the humanoid robot Atlas which is agile enough to do handstands and parkour.
Boston Dynamics is a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that was first acquired by Google in 2013. In 2017, Google’s parent company Alphabet sold it to Softbank, which had a “vision to catalyze the next wave of smart robotics.” Hyundai Motor has invested heavily in robotics in recent years, pledging to invest up to 1.5 trillion won ($ 1.4 billion) in the industry by 2025. machines as interesting as Spot and Atlas. KED says Hyundai Motor won about 400 billion, while its affiliates, including auto parts manufacturer Hyundai Mobis Co., will pay the remainder of the purchase price.
This story by Mariella Moon originally appeared on Engadget.