Microsoft Research, Google Brain, Amazon, and others are putting more R&D into drones, robotics, and automation solutions in general. Hyundai has followed suit and upped the ante.

Hyundai Makes Huge Investment With AI Center

For biotech and robotics companies, many people think Boston is paradise. This area recruits talent in diverse areas, including AI and robotics research, software and hardware engineering, and partners with universities and corporate research labs.

The decision-makers at Hyundai seem to agree. The news came with the article written by Michael Spencer who tells us about the new Hyundai AI Center. The South Korean corporation repurchased Boston Dynamics in June of 2021. Some people wondered why at the time. This might be the answer to that.

Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) announced the launch of Boston Dynamics AI Institute on August 12th, 2022, (the Institute), to make fundamental advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and intelligent machines. The Group and Boston Dynamics will make an initial investment of more than $400 million in the new Institute. That’s a pretty good budget at the founding.

The new Kendall Square institute plans to focus on robotics, artificial intelligence, and intelligent machines research. Kendall Square is a neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass., with the square itself at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway. That’s some prime real estate and perfect for this concept in growing AI.

The Institute

The Institute, led by the founder of Boston Dynamics Marc Raibert, invests resources across the technical areas of cognitive AI, athletic AI, and organic hardware design, with each discipline contributing to progress in advanced machine capabilities. While it’s called an AI Research center, you can bet robotics is going to be a huge part of what will go on here.

It’s a bit slow to market when it comes to robots at scale. Boston Dynamics has brought its quadrupedal robot Spot to market and this year announced the (still upcoming) launch of Stretch (TechCrunch), an updated version of its warehouse robot, Handle.

The institute will “invest resources across the technical areas of cognitive AI, athletic AI and organic hardware design, with each discipline contributing to progress in advanced machine capabilities,” Hyundai said in a release on the website.

Hyundai’s ambition here is awe-inspiring, actually.

Group Mission Statement

As a research-first organization, the Institute will work on solving the most important and difficult challenges facing the creation of advanced robots. Elite talent across AI, robotics, computing, machine learning, and engineering will develop technology for robots and use it to advance their capabilities and usefulness. The Institute’s culture is designed to combine the best features of university research labs with those of corporate development labs while working in four core technical areas:

The Robotics Revolution of the 2030s
1. cognitive AI
2. Athletic AI
3. Organic hardware design
4. Ethics and policy.

The size of the investment Hyundai is making and the location it has chosen to build this tech-advanced center show they are serious. And it means it will open more doors for trade with Japan and other South Asian nations for Boston Dynamics.

As of July 21, earnings for Hyundai exceeded expectations. Net profit rose to 2.8 trillion won ($2.13 billion) for the April-June period from 1.8 trillion a year earlier, beating an average analyst forecast of 2.2 trillion from Refinitiv SmartEstimate.