When Hyundai acquired Boston Dynamics on the finish of 2020, there have been loads of open questions. Chief amongst them was why we must always assume this acquisition can be any totally different than the previous few? The 30-year-old bleeding-edge robotics agency had been an uncomfortable match for its final two house owners, Google and SoftBank, however the Korean automotive big insisted issues can be totally different.
The pairing has, up to now, been one thing of a blended bag. As Boston Dynamics seems to be to pragmatic purposes to commercialize robots like Spot and Stretch, Hyundai has used the expertise for some wild sci-fi demos, together with one at this 12 months’s CES that includes Spot hanging out on Mars as a metaverse avatar.
This morning, the corporate introduced that the robotics agency will kind the foundations of the Boston Dynamics AI Institute, which goals to advance analysis in synthetic intelligence and robotics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Sq., the institute will probably be led by Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert, who transitioned away from the CEO position on the finish of 2019, leaving longtime COO Rob Playter to take the reins.
Analysis has lengthy been a foundational a part of what Boston Dynamics does, a convention that has continued after it started working towards commercializing its expertise. It’s additionally a giant piece of what Raibert, a former professor at MIT and CMU, has centered on throughout his three a long time with the corporate.
“Our mission is to create future generations of superior robots and clever machines which can be smarter, extra agile, perceptive and safer than something that exists as we speak,” Raibert mentioned in a launch tied to the information. “The distinctive construction of the Institute — high expertise centered on elementary options with sustained funding and wonderful technical assist — will assist us create robots which can be simpler to make use of, extra productive, capable of carry out a greater diversity of duties, and which can be safer working with individuals.”
The institute’s launch is being funded by a roughly $400 million funding. Hyundai notes that they’re actively hiring researchers and engineers — definitely inserting it in Cambridge, inside strolling distance of a few of the world’s main analysis institutes, is smart. Ford, equally, has been working its personal robotics analysis facility together with the College of Michigan.