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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 electric SUV

The Genesis GV60 is on sale now

The GV60 is on sale in the U.S. now.

Genesis

Today, Genesis announced that its newest vehicle, the electric GV60, is on sale in the United States. The vehicle brings a load of new tech and innovations, and features the brand's distinctive, attractive styling.

The GV60 will be offered in two configurations in the United States. The GV60 Advanced AWD starts at $58,890 and features a facial unlocking system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and touchscreen, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. The GV60 Performance AWD starts at $67,890 and brings more power, leather upholstery, a massaging driver's seat, and more.

2023 Genesis GV60Buyers get three years of free charging. Genesis

The Advanced model comes with a 74-kW front and 160-kW rear electric motor for a total of 314 horsepower. A 77.4-kWh battery provides juice for the operation, and returns a range of 248 miles. The Performance AWD model features a 160-kW front and 160-kW rear motor for a combined 429 horsepower, with up to 483 ponies available with a temporary boost mode.

Genesis partnered with Electrify America to provide GV60 owners with three years of free 30-minute charging sessions. Owners can charge anywhere in the United States, and can locate charging stations using their vehicle's navigation system. The GV60 is also the first Genesis to feature Connected Care, which includes several connected services such as enhanced roadside assistance, an SOS emergency notification feature, vehicle health reports, and more.

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The 2023 Sportage Hybrid starts at around $28,000.

Kia

Kia's moving full steam ahead to an all-electric future, but the automaker's intermediate models should not be overlooked. Kia and Hyundai do hybrids as well as anyone, and the 2023 Sportage Hybrid is coming soon with new tech, updated styling, and a value-forward price. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale in spring.

2023 Kia Sportage HybridThe Sportage Hybrid delivers up to 39 mpg.Kia

Kia offers the Sportage hybrid in three trims: The $28,505 LX, $32,205 EX, and $37,405 SX-Prestige. All models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a 44kW electric motor that combine to produce 226 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter is standard, and all-wheel drive become standard at the EX trim. The powertrain is efficient for an SUV, delivering up to 39 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive.

Kia says the Sportage Hybrid's interior features a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for almost 25 inches of display. Standard tech is generous, and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also plenty of safety tech. Kia adds standard gear that includes:

  • Driver attention warning system
  • LED headlights
  • Lane following assist and lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warnings with cyclist detection
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Rearview monitor
  • Reverse parking distance warnings
Several optional features are available, including blind spot warnings, forward parking distance warnings, navigation-based cruise control, and more.

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