According to foreign media reports, Japan‘s Softbank Group recently announced that it has acquired two startup companies engaged in robot development from the parent company‘s alphabet in the United States. Some analysts believe that through these mergers and acquisitions, Softbank is accelerating its new robot development plan.
According to Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Softbank announced on the 9th that it will acquire Boston Dynamics and SCHAFT, a startup from the University of Tokyo, from the alphabet. However, specific details such as the amount of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
It is reported that Softbank is currently expanding the humanoid robot Pepper business. Sun Zhengyi, Chairman and CEO of Softbank Group, positioned intelligent robots as a key area for the future. After the announcement on the 9th, Softbank shares rose 7%, reaching a nearly 20-year high.
Sun Zheng said in a statement that intelligent robots will be the key driver of the next information**. Boston Dynamics is a leader in dynamic robotics and welcomes its participation in Softbank. Softbank will continue to support its advancement in robotics and explore applications that help people achieve more convenient, safer and more fulfilling lives.
Mark Rayport, founder of Boston Dynamics, said that he strongly agrees with Softbank’s use of technological advancement to promote the interests of all human beings, and hopes to achieve the mission of advanced robot development together with Softbank, allowing robots to create greater in a smarter and connected future world. the value of.
Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics originated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory. Its biped robots and quadruped robots, such as Atlas and BigDog, are well known in the industry and supported by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A lot of its projects. SCHAFT is developing a two-legged walking robot that has received attention at the disaster rescue robot conference hosted by DARPA.
According to media reports, Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google‘s co-founder Andy Rubin after being acquired by Google in 2013. After Rubin’s departure from Google in 2014, the leadership of Google’s robotics project “Replicant” continued to face turmoil. Google last year sought to sell Boston Dynamics.
Some analysts believe that after Google reorganized the alphabet parent company in 2015, the pressure on its independent survival increased. The main reason for Google’s sale of Boston Dynamics was its management’s disagreement with Google’s related divisions in its development strategy, and Boston Dynamics failed to bring its products to market.
According to foreign media reports, some of the robots developed by Boston Dynamics can help with load-bearing, some can be applied to factories, and some can help people deal with housework, but they have not been successfully promoted on a large scale. For example, a robotic dog product developed by the company was originally planned to help the US military carry military supplies, but was later forced to suspend due to noise and other issues.
Softbank is a Japanese telecommunications giant. In recent years, it has been hoping to build itself into a large-scale advanced technology group, set up a nearly $100 billion technology fund, and conducted a series of related acquisitions.
Softbank acquired the French Aldebaran Robotics Company in 2012. Since 2014, it has promoted the humanoid robot Pepper and launched Pepper in the market in 2015. At present, Softbank is accelerating the deployment of artificial intelligence, acquiring the British chip company ARM for $32 billion, increasing its shareholding to become the fourth largest shareholder of chip maker Nvidia, and spending $1 billion to acquire the satellite startup OneWeb.