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Hyundai acquires Boston Dynamics, bets on robotics future

In a deal valued at $1.1 billion, Hyundai becomes the third different owner of Boston Dynamics since 2013.

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For the third time in a decade, robotics company Boston Dynamics has new ownership. Korean automaker Hyundai announced today that it has acquired the Boston-based robotics firm in a deal reportedly worth $1.1 billion.

Boston Dynamics was founded back in 1992 as a spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The firm is best known for its robot prototypes, including Spot, the four-legged cyber creature that is familiar to millions for its videos on social media.

The robotics firm was originally acquired by Google back in 2013 and had its projects overseen by Andy Rubin. In 2017, Boston Dynamics was sold to Softbank Group. Hyundai has acquired an 80-percent stake in the firm, with Softbank retaining a 20-percent share.

Hyundai’s plan for the company is to create a "robotics value chain" that spans robot component manufacturing, construction and automation. Boston Dynamics has previously drawn controversy when critics charged that its robotic creations were being shopped to military and law enforcement. The promo video Hyundai released showed a robot dog assisting a blind man, so if the company has intentions to design robots for military use, it is keeping those plans under wraps for the time being.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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