Shown above are the agile bipedal robot Atlas, right, and the four-legged canine-inspired Spot of Boston Dynamics. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor

Hyundai Motor’s affiliate strives to make robotics breakthrough

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, announced on Aug. 13 that its robotics affiliate Boston Dynamics had launched an artificial intelligence institute.

The Seoul-based company noted that the new institute would strive to make fundamental advances in AI, robotics, and intelligent machines.

Toward that end, Hyundai Motor and Boston Dynamics plan to make an initial investment of more than $400 million in the institute, which will be headed by the latter’s founder Marc Raibert.

Hyundai Motor said that the new organization would work on solving the most difficult challenges in creating more advanced robots with the help of elite talent.

It will be headquartered in Massachusetts to attract top talents in AI, robotics, software, and hardware.

“Our mission is to create future generations of advanced robots and intelligent machines that are smarter, more agile, perceptive, and safer than anything that exists today,” Raibert said.

“The unique structure of the Institute will help us create robots that are easier to use, more productive, able to perform a wider variety of tasks, and that are safer working with people.”

Midway through 2021, Hyundai Motor spent $880 million to purchase an 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics from Softbank of Japan.

The US robotics company was founded in 1992 as a spin-off from MIT. It was acquired by search engine Google in 2013 before its second owner Softbank snapped it up four years later.

Boston Dynamics has gained the global limelight by coming up with such products as Cheetah, a four-footed model, Atlas, an agile bipedal robot, and the four-legged canine-inspired Spot.

Separately, Hyundai Motor disclosed its plan to set up a global software center to enhance its capabilities in developing futuristic vehicles.

The center will be built on the basis of 42dot, an autonomous driving software, and mobility platform startup. Hyundai Motor recently bought the outfit.