back to article Hyundai takes 80 per cent stake in terrifying Black Mirror robo-hound firm Boston Dynamics

Hyundai has acquired a controlling interest in US robotics company Boston Dynamics from Softbank for US$880M. The deal has been in the works since December 2020 when the board of directors at three Hyundai affiliates approved the purchase that would give them a combined 80 per cent of the robot maker. A SoftBank affiliate will …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    As creepy as this thing is...

    Hyundai buying it makes sense. They are already a big robotics player, including designing items such as exoskeletons as well as your run of the mill industrial beasts.

    1. Scott Broukell

      Re: As creepy as this thing is...

      I mis-read that as "industrial breasts" and then thought that the Just Teat delivery company might what to purchase some shares as well!

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    ED 209 Demo?

    Watch this scene from Robocop, then get back to me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ED 209 Demo?

      You're link failed I think, but I assume it's 1 of 3 scenes. Probably when it gets shot... which is a real inevitability if you see one of these things walking on your lawn.

      If you need a guide animal, I think it's much more efficient to spend $200,000 on a robot than spending $200 at an animal shelter, it just makes perfect business sense (especially for Hyundai). Of course if you need dancing lessons, $5,000,000 is a steal of a price (but not for me, as most will gladly pay me NOT to dance).

      In later news, XYZ Corp. is building a robot shelter for stray robots, virus vaccinations are free by default.

  3. Chris G

    While I think a robotic guide dog makes some sense, if they can develop the range and the right software, I am not too sure that Hyundai and the ad guys who made the video, really get how a guide dog works.

    The blind guy stands up and the 'dog' jumps up and trots off in front of him, leaving the guy to continue with his stick.

    In spite of that Boston are likely to do a lot better with Hyundai's direction than being just another one on the list of Softbank tech acquisitions. I know nothing about their cars but their industrial kit is not bad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Guide dog - right idea wrong use-case

      While a robotic guide dog might be possible at some point in the (near) future a much more achievable objective is to produce a 'dementia dog'.

      Something the size of a small dog, made to look cute, with a lead that can be fastened to a dementia patient's wrist. The patient can then 'take the dog for a walk', and it doesn't matter if they get lost or forget to come home because the dog can gently and discreetly steer them away from busy streets and lead them back, either on a recall signal or after a set period of time - an hour's exercise say.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Guide dog - right idea wrong use-case

        Might work for some patients, but some elders can be surprisingly forceful in their behaviour. Probably also depends on how well the person does with dogs/animals in general.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      I think only the footage of the archery player standing up with assistance of the exoskeleton is actually fully real. In the shoot of the blind person standing up the footage of the Spot is clearly either blue screen or CGI. Same with the dancing girl. The rest seems to be either artsy B-roll footage or CGI

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      If the 'dog' can see

      why do you need a dog? Just make a Trek-style visor.

  4. Totally not a Cylon

    There's 2 of these at Starbase

    SpaceX has 2 of these wandering around at Boca Chica Starbase.

    Security and gas alert in one.

    NasaSpaceFlight have footage of them 'showing off' for a couple of school buses; sitting, wagging their behinds, etc.....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stretch, assists in warehouse facilities and distribution centres.

    I can see an amazon warehouse and the dog barking orders and snapping at those lazy humans that move slower than a trot. Bleak employment prospects for supervisors, even bleaker for managers...

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Stretch, assists in warehouse facilities and distribution centres.

      Robo-dog deleted my homework!

  6. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Step one, replace soldiers with robots

    Step two, make sure all countries replace soldiers with robots

    Step three, create designated war arenas in unpopulated areas

    Step four, realise that this can be all done in software

    Step five, ban real life wars and only allow conflicts to be resolved online

    Step six, realise that all this tech can be replaced by weighted random number generator that tells who won the conflict

    Step seven, create a marketplace for weights.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Re: Random

      Step eight, take over the entire demilitarised world with just a small fruit knife.


      1. Gary Stewart

        Re: Random

        Personally I prefer pineapples and pointed sticks.

    2. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: Random

      This is literally describing my thoughts around online FPS when I was around 14 YO, if it wasn’t for aimbots, wallhacks and other assorted cheats, it could literally be a contender to replace actual IRL wars

    3. CynicalOptimist

      Re: Random

      Step five was the premise of the PC game Wargasm, released in 1998

      This from the wikipedia article:

      "The game is set in the year 2065, and the world's military forces have been transferred to the World Wide War Web in an effort to eliminate the loss of actual human life. Every country, whether they be a superpower or in the Third World, have been represented accordingly. Wars are fought through this system, and the winner of each battle takes the loser's electronic infrastructure. However, the system is flawed, and is prone to hacking. In this state of "wargasm," the world has fallen into a state of corruption. It is the player's duty to bring order back to the world."

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Random

      "Step six, realise that all this tech can be replaced by weighted random number generator that tells who won the conflict"

      Step 7. Order those people who were "killed" in the simulated war to immediately attend the disintegration chambers.

      At least that's how it happened in the Star Trek scenario broadcast about 50 years ago. And I'm pretty sure that was based on an even older SF story in print.

  7. macjules

    "technology serving as medical mobility devices ..."

    We all know that the sexy money comes when you can show a robot hound with one leg that contains a shotgun, the other a USB I/F tool and a pathological hatred of humans.

    Perfect for those little labour disputes in your slave shop Amazon distribution centres.

  8. Stuart Halliday

    In the Canadian TV series War of the Worlds, these 'dogs' go around shooting people.

    But no mention of this series?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Likewise the Black Mirror episode where the dogs from the amazing warehouse attacked the non-buying "consumers" because they were not paying customers.

  9. Floydian Slip

    Could have been worse

    So, Hyundai now own 80% of Boston Dynamics.

    It could have been worse, a lot worse if the Chinese got hold of the company.

    Mind you, they probably have hacked the IP already.

    1. macjules

      Re: Could have been worse

      Chinese don't need robots - they have thousands in their labour camps doing the sort of menial tasks that even the robot dogs would turn their silicon noses up at.

  10. spold Silver badge

    So if head over to the Hyundai dealer then

    Can I take the horsey one for a ride...?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like