Hyundai reportedly wants to buy Boston Dynamics, maker of everyone's favorite robot dog

It's unclear why Hyundai may want to buy the robotics company, but it could have something to do with the walking car concepts it's shown.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Boston Dynamics Spot

Robot dogs and automakers... 2020 is weird.

Boston Dynamics

Talk about a curveball. Korean automaker is reportedly in talks with Boston Dynamics to buy the robotics company from Japan's SoftBank, Bloomberg reported Monday. Boston Dynamics is best known for building the world's most famous robot dog, a machine named Spot.

SoftBank and Hyundai reportedly remains in discussions to sell the company, spun out of MIT in 1992, according to the publication's sources. The deal is far from final but could be worth up to $1 billion, if things progress in a positive fashion. A Hyundai spokesperson told Roadshow, "As a global business entity, Hyundai Motor is continuously exploring various investment and partnership opportunities," but declined to comment further. Boston Dynamics did not return a request for comment.

What in the world may Hyundai want Boston Dynamics for? Well, the automaker does build robots now vehicle assembly lines. That's the most practical answer. But, Hyundai also signaled it's interested in bringing "walking cars" to life. These mobility robots first came to life back at CES 2019 where Hyundai showed the Elevate concept. The whole idea is the car includes the ability to sprout legs when needed to reach hard-to-maneuver areas. Hyundai specifically thinks these "ultimate mobility vehicles" could be a boon for rescue teams. They're also sort of freaky looking in conceptual drawings.

Hyundai's Elevate concept can climb a five-foot wall

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If there's a company that could provide valuable research into this sort of concept, Boston Dynamics seems like the one. Hyundai set up a dedicated design studio for these walking cars back in September, but perhaps the robotic company will help shape future mobility solutions, if a deal closes.

Meet Boston Dynamics' weird and wonderful robot family

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Watch this: Boston Dynamics' four-legged Spot robots hot off the production line!