Business

Hyundai Motor Group agrees to buy a controlling interest in company known for robodogs

Boston Dyanamics may be best known for creating these dog-like robots.

Photo courtesy of Boston Dynamics

Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), the parent company of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis vehicle brands, and SoftBank Group Corp. have agreed to a deal that would have HMG gain a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics, a robotics company perhaps best known for making dog-like robots that monitor Singapore's parks and help Ford map out its factories.

The deal values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion. Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20 percent stake in Boston Dynamics after the closing of the transaction.

Ford is testing Boston Dynamics robodogs at its Michigan plant. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Hyundai has been pushing the limits of the possibilities of future mobility in multiple realms of transportation. Last November, presented the company's idea of what the future of San Francisco could look like. Then-Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung, who has since been promoted to Chairman of HMG, presented the visual saying, "Cities and mobility services were developed for humans from the very beginning... That's why we are making a wide range of efforts to study a human-centered future from a broader humanities perspective."

In January, Hyundai and Uber announced a partnership to develop air taxis. That was followed by a model of a future city, complete with dynamic mobility solutions, in May.

Over the summer, Hyundai and the Rhode Island School of Design announced a new research collaboration to examine relationships among natural and built environments. The result of the partnership will be proposals for new directions for the future of mobility.

Most recently, Hyundai's New Horizons Studio distributed a series of concept sketches to showcase the possibility of future mobility solutions. Many of those solutions look reminiscent of Boston Dynamics' innovations.

"We are delighted to have Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots, join the Hyundai team. This transaction will unite capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility. The synergies created by our union offer exciting new pathways for our companies to realize our goal - providing free and safe movement and higher plane of life experiences for humanity," said Chung. "We will also contribute to the society by enhancing its safety, security, public health amid global trends of aging society and digital transformation."

Boston Dynamics has had a busy few months and looks to continue the momentum in 2021. This year, it launched sales of its first commercial robot, Spot. The company plans to expand the Spot product line in 2021 with version of the robot with greater levels of autonomy and remote inspection capabilities, and the release of a robotic arm. Pick, a computer vision-based depalletizing solution, is set to enter the logistics market inn 2021.

The transaction is expected to close in June 2021.

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New performance SUV

Hyundai announces pricing for 2022 Kona N

The Kona N is price right at $35,425.

Hyundai

Hyundai is hard at work developing new electric vehicles, and has released some truly interesting electric concepts in recent months. However, the automaker’s efforts in the electric world haven’t stopped it from rolling out fun-to-drive and affordable performance vehicles under its N brand. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the latest vehicle in the series. The Kona N will go on sale soon with a reasonable starting price of $35,425, which includes a $1,225 destination charge.

2022 Hyundai Kona N One well-equipped model will be available.Hyundai

The Kona N joins Hyundai’s high-performance stable that also includes the Veloster N and Elantra N, though the latter hasn’t yet hit the streets. The hot crossover gets the same output numbers from its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the Elantra N: 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster gets 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That rowdy four-banger is paired with an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.

Hyundai’s full-on N cars get plenty of other go-fast bits to keep them planted in corners and stable at higher speeds. The Kona N gets an electronic limited-slip differential, an active sport exhaust system, electronically controlled suspension, and 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P-Zero performance tires.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Aggressive wheels and tires help keep the Kona N planted in corners.Hyundai

Hyundai generally knocks it out of the park with value, and the Kona N is no exception. Its modest price tag buys a generous helping of advanced driver aids in addition to its exciting specs. Standard features include forward collision warnings, lane keep assist, lane following assist, driver attention warnings, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a safe exit warning system.

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The Santa Fe Hybrid offers plenty to like.

Hyundai

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is all-new for 2021, and features an impressive list of standard features, great safety scores, and family-friendly space. If you're looking for a new SUV, it's hard to imagine a better fit for an urban family, or any other family, for that matter. Beyond a few small complaints, the Santa Fe Hybrid offers plenty to like.

Here are three things to like about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid The Santa Fe Hybrid brings great passenger space and an upscale interior.Hyundai

It offers plenty of passenger and cargo space

The Santa Fe offers roomy seating for up to five adults with more than reasonable head and legroom in both rows. Second-row passengers have room to move, and don't end up jockeying for position with taller front-seat passengers. When the SUV is packed with people and needs to haul gear, it's more than capable of doing that, too, as it offers 36.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row and up to 72.1 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded down. Making the space more accessible, power-folding second-row seats and a hands-free power liftgate are standard.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid All trims come decked out with safety equipment.Hyundai

It delivers excellent fuel economy

The Santa Fe Hybrid returns impressive fuel economy numbers, especially in town, making it an excellent urban family runabout. The EPA estimates that the SUV can deliver 33 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined. The Santa Fe Hybrid Blue returns 36 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined. That's several miles per gallon better than the standard Santa Fe and better than some sedans.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Fuel economy is better than many smaller cars.Hyundai

It earned great safety scores

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe earned a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That score is due in part to the Santa Fe's Good marks in crash tests, but the SUV's long list of standard safety kit helps, too. All models come with forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian, cyclist, and junction turning detection, lane keeping assist, driver attention warnings, lane following assist, and a rear occupant alert system. Optional features include blind spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, a parking distance warning system, and a highway driving assist system.

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