Robotics and automobiles. Bet you didn’t see that coming. In June, Hyundai announced they acquired a controlling stake in the world-renown robotics product design company Boston Dynamics from the Softbank Group for $1.1 billion. As part of this deal, Hyundai now owns 80 percent of the robotics company while SoftBank retains 20 percent. Indeed, this acquisition is a strong indicator that Hyundai is seriously looking beyond the traditional automobile market to provide future mobility solutions for the masses. Just last year, they won a Red Dot for their VEX robotic exoskeleton designed to boost load support and mobility for industrial workers. Near the end of 2020, Hyundai also partnered with Ineos to explore hydrogen-fuel cell technology found in the Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle.
Hyundai X Boston Dynamics
With the acquisition of the robotics product design company Boston Dynamics, they’ll be able to take another leap forward in automation, logistics and manufacturing as they mention in their press release. In the press release, Hyundai also included a video to showcase how they envision merging Boston Dynamics and Hyundai’s technologies. Along with the VEX, they showcase a number of other intriguing robotics-related use cases:
- Robotic Guide Dog: Boston Dynamic’s Spot acts as a guide dog an assists an elderly visually impaired individual.
- Remote Medical Assessments: A bit of a different product design. With the help of a camera and screen attached to Spot, medical professionals can communicate with patients remotely. This will significantly reducing the risk of contaminations, infections or transmissions.
- Dancing Robot: Dancing Robot: Using Boston Dynamic’s Atlas as an example, they wanted to show how robots and humans could co-exist in the future. Robotic backup dancers anyone?
Funnily enough, what’s left out of the video are the four-legged vehicle product designs from early 2019. First showcased at CES 2019, project Elevate aimed to create a vehicle that expanded the range capabilities of the wheel. Equipped with asynchronous extendable robotic legs, drivers could traverse across various types of terrains and elevations. In fact, these vehicles featured a walking mode thanks to the individually moving legs! With wheels locked in place, the vehicle could walk across various mountainous terrains with ease. As shown in the video, this idea looks especially useful for first responders working in remote or rural areas. Maybe we’ll see something new at CES 2022?
We can’t wait to see future product designs from Hyundai as they integrate and use more of Boston Dynamic’s tech!
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