SoftBank takes over Boston Dynamics and Schaft

SoftBank now takes over Boston Dynamics and Schaft, remember over a year now we heard that Google’s parent company Alphabet wanted to sell its robotics company Boston Dynamics, frankly speaking now Softbank is the buyer: The Japanese company has been working on its own robots for years, including the helpful Pepper, and now they’ll be under the same umbrella as Handle, Big Dog, Atlas, WildCat and all the rest.

We knew that Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of telecom giant SoftBank, loved robots. Now the Japanese billionaire is about to significantly expand his collection of robots by going for Boston Dynamics.

This is the press release regarding the robotic deal:

SoftBank Group Corp. today announced a subsidiary of SoftBank has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire robotics pioneer Boston Dynamics from Alphabet Inc. The transaction aligns with SoftBank’s investments in paradigm-shifting technologies and its vision of catalyzing the next wave of smart robotics. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., said, “Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities. Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution, and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots.

I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.”Marc Raibert, CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics, said,

“We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution, and we share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity. We look forward to working with SoftBank in our mission to push the boundaries of what advanced robots can do and to create useful applications in a smarter and more connected world.”

As part of the transaction with Alphabet, SoftBank has also agreed to acquire Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft. Founded in 2012 in the JSK Robotics Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, the company has continued its pioneering work under the leadership of co-founders Yuto Nakanishi, Junichi Urata, Narito Suzuki and Koichi Nishiwaki.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

According to spectrum.ieee, SoftBank entered the robotics market with its $100+ million acquisition of French company Aldebaran Robotics in 2012. Aldebaran, makers of Nao and Romeo, was immediately tasked with creating Pepper, which (as far as we can tell) is a social robot that’s still trying to figure out exactly how to become commercially viable as much more than a novelty.

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