By Ishveena Singh

Remember how Hyundai Motor Group was so impressed by the robot dogs and humanoid bots developed by Boston Dynamics that it decided to acquire a majority stake in the robotics firm in 2020? Well, the two companies are now ready to take their relationship to the next level with the formation of the Boston Dynamics AI Institute.

The car manufacturer and the MIT spin-off will make an initial investment of more than $400 million in the new organization, which will be led by Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics.

At its core, Boston Dynamics AI Institute will be a research-oriented establishment. It will work on solving some of the most important and difficult challenges facing the creation of advanced robots. Combining the best features of university research labs with those of corporate development labs, the institute’s work will focus on four technical areas: cognitive AI, athletic AI, organic hardware design, as well as ethics and policy.

Stressing that the mission is to create future generations of advanced robots and intelligent machines that are smarter, more agile, perceptive, and safer than anything that exists today, Raibert says:

We need to make robots smarter, more agile and dexterous, and generally easier to use — more like people. Once we do that, robots and other types of intelligent systems will increase productivity, free people from dangerous work, care for the disabled, and generally help people live better lives. 

Boston Dynamics AI Institute will be headquartered in the heart of the Kendall Square research community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It plans to hire AI and robotics researchers, software and hardware engineers, and technicians at all levels.