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Hyundai announces $400 million AI robotics institute powered by Boston Dynamics – londonbusinessblog.com

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When Hyundai acquired Boston Dynamics at the end of 2020, there were plenty of open questions. Chief among these was why we had to assume that this acquisition would be different from the past few? The 30-year-old state-of-the-art robotics company was an uneasy fit for its last two owners, Google and SoftBank, but the Korean auto giant insisted it would be different.

The clutch has been a bit of a mixed bag so far. While Boston Dynamics looks for pragmatic applications to commercialize robots like Spot and Stretch, Hyundai has used the technology for some wild sci-fi demos, including one at this year’s CES with Spot hanging out on Mars as a metaverse avatar.

This morning, the company announced that the robotics company will form the basis for the Boston Dynamics AI Institute, which aims to advance research in artificial intelligence and robotics. The institute, headquartered in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be led by Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert, who left the CEO role in late 2019, leaving longtime COO Rob Playter in charge.

Research has long been a fundamental part of what Boston Dynamics does, a tradition that has continued after it began working to commercialize its technology. It’s also a big part of what Raibert, a former professor at MIT and CMU, has focused on during his three decades with the company.

“Our mission is to create future generations of advanced robots and intelligent machines that are smarter, more agile, more astute and safer than anything that exists today,” Raibert said in a release linked to the news. “The Institute’s unique structure – top talent focused on fundamental solutions with sustainable financing and excellent technical support – will help us create robots that are more user-friendly, more productive, able to perform a wider variety of tasks and operate more safely. with people.”

The launch of the institute is being funded with an investment of approximately $400 million. Hyundai notes that they actively hire researchers and engineers – it certainly makes sense to put it in Cambridge, within walking distance of some of the world’s leading research institutes. Similarly, Ford has its own robotics research facility in partnership with the University of Michigan.

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