At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Hyundai showed off renderings of a four-legged Elevate car billed as the "Ultimate Mobility Vehicle."
While the idea of a vehicle capable of traversing roads with wheels and climbing rugged terrain is an intriguing one, no one realistically thought that such a fantastically high-tech concept would actually be even prototyped by the South Korean automaker in the near future.
Well, Project Elevate may soon be taking a big step closer to reality. Bloomberg is now reporting that Hyundai is in talks to buy Boston Dynamics Inc., the formerly Google-owned firm behind Spot the robotic dog (and an equally impressive humanoid), from SoftBank Group Corp.
It could be a $1 billion deal, but no terms have been finalized. Hyundai said it's “continuously exploring various investment and partnership opportunities," and Boston Dynamics said its work “continues to excite partners interested in exploring a deeper commercial relationship with our company" in emails to Bloomberg.
Car and Driver was among the first to propose that Hyundai could be interested in adapting Spot's robotic legs to the Elevate car. In fact, a demo robot that Hyundai showed in 2019 was doing some of the same things that Spot can do, albeit at a much slower pace.
If Hyundai is still serious about Elevate, acquiring Boston Dynamics and its technology could massively accelerate the project. In turn, Boston Dynamics could turn a profit from a major automotive player that generates hundreds of billions in revenue annually.