Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) said it had agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics from Japan’s SoftBank Group in a deal that values the US robotics firm at US$1.1bn.

The automaker said the deal would help it “transform human life” by combining world leading robotics technology with its mobility expertise. The acquisition is expected to be completed by June 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

HMG agreed to take an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics through its Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis subsidiaries and with group chairman Euisun Chung also taking a direct stake.

The remaining 20% of the equity would be retained by SoftBank through one of its subsidiaries. 

Hyundai said it intended to establish a leading presence in robotics and would also the technology to advance its transformation into a smart mobility solutions provider, focusing on autonomous driving technology, urban air mobility (UAM), connectivity, smart factories and strengthening its existing artificial intelligence (AI) and robots operations.

The deal is also expected to allow Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other’s respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.

Hyundai Motor Group said in a statement that Boston Dynamics possessed “multiple key technology for high performance robots equipped with perception, navigation and intelligence. Its locations in Boston and Silicon Valley, both major robot cluster regions, are also advantageous in sourcing key robotics talents and collaborating with competent partners”.

Euisun Chung said “we are delighted to have Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots, join the Hyundai team. This transaction will unite the capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility”.

Masayoshi Son, chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group and representative director at the US robotics company, said: “Boston Dynamics is at the heart of smart robotics. We are thrilled to partner with Hyundai, one of the world’s leading global mobility companies, to accelerate the company’s path to commercialisation. Boston Dynamics has a very bright future and we remain invested in the company’s success.”