Back in December, Hyundai Motor Group made a strange purchase. The company known for making cars bought a company known for making robots. To celebrate the acquisition, Hyundai has released a video showing its global brand ambassador and worldwide music phenomenon BTS dancing along side Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog called Spot. It’s a cutesy ad, though one that’s tinted with a bit of terror.
Hyundai acquired Boston Dynamics because the Korean company believes robotics is an “important area of business development.” Before the purchase, Hyundai had already begun working on its own robotic projects. The company has supported integrating robotics and wearable tech into the vehicle production process to assist workers with repetitive tasks, including the introduction of the VEX, a wearable robot designed to help production line workers.
Gallery: Boston Dynamics Robots
“With the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, Hyundai Motor will expand its new robotics business to provide customers with exciting mobility experiences,” said Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motor.
The company has much more ambitious plans than having the tech assist employees. In December, the company mentioned that it one day hopes to build humanoid robots, including ones that’d work in a hospital setting as a caregiver, which will probably frighten a few patients. Another win for Hyundai is BD’s navigation tech that could help improve Hyundai’s autonomous and semi-self-driving technologies.
The deal goes beyond sharing cool tech, though. The two will also work to develop robotic component manufacturing and logistic solutions. Robots and automation are playing a more prominent role in vehicle production and vehicle mobility. Robotics may seem like a strange field to invest in for an automaker, but the industry’s future is rapidly changing. Hyundai also isn’t the first automaker with a robotics division. In 2018, Honda closed the door on its Asimo project.