Boston Dynamics is a robotics specialist. His popularity in the media, thanks to his robot-dog Spot, is undeniable. However, its hybrid nature between a commercial enterprise and a research and development laboratory is expensive. In 2013, Google bought the company before selling it to Softbank in 2017, which itself sold it to Hyundai in June 2021.
In a year, Hyundai had remained discreet about its stranglehold – as the first industrial owner of this company. His new entity continued to post videos, each more impressive than the other, but never a clear guideline and an investment had been clearly announced. We had to wait for this month of August and the creation of the Boston Dynamics Ai Institute. Based in Cambridge, it will be designed for research and development of the company’s future products, and basic research for the entire group.
The specialist thus approaches the heads of the city of England where it is good to go to be able to approach the best engineers, the best universities and the best research institutes. Several other companies (including manufacturers like Ford) have their own base on site. Hyundai is starting with a $400 million investment in this new center and plans to recruit. The former CEO of Boston Dynamics, who had given up his place as COO, takes over as head of the entity.
On-site research will not only drive the operation of the robot dog Spot or the next gymnastic figure Atlas, the humanoid that must now compete with Xiaomi and Tesla. New engineers will be recruited to “to create future generations of advanced robots and intelligent machines that are smarter, more agile, more insightful and safer than anything existing today”.
Fundamental research that Hyundai feels obliged to fund in order to be able to take the lead with Boston Dynamics and design robots that perform better than those of the competition (for whom obtaining capital from investment funds will not be an easy task in the coming month).
Congrats to our founder, Marc Raibert, on the launch of the new Boston Dynamics AI Institute! We look forward to working with Marc and the Institute team in the years ahead. https://t.co/7JzqG3sZ0M pic.twitter.com/JMwTM9h1uR
—Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) August 12, 2022
The Spot robot dog has a competitor
In this regard, the famous robot-dog Spot already has a strong competitor, which the United States Space Force has already procured. It’s called the Vision 60 Q-UGV and looks suspiciously like the Boston Dynamics model but with bumped capabilities in some terrain.
“The Institute’s unique structure – with top talent focused, fundamental research and sustained funding – will help us create robots that are easier to use, more productive, capable of performing a wider variety of tasks and that operate safely”. The commercial application can effectively be broken down into professional and private use, with products for businesses and the military such as products for home automation for homes, for example.
Hyundai had said that things would be different in its acquisition compared to that of Softbank and Google. The manufacturer, which is part of a group with Kia, had a very good first quarter this year with sales up in Europe thanks to its hybrid and electric models.