SoftBank buys robotics leader Boston Dynamics from Alphabet


SoftBank's shares rose 7.3 percent to 9,464 yen after the deal was announced. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Boston Dynamics has repeatedly made headlines with its eye-catching robots, which can run, jump and climb stairs.

As part of the transaction, SoftBank will also acquire Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft from Alphabet.

Minutes ago, SoftBank Robotics announced that it will be acquiring Boston Dynamics and Schaft for an undisclosed sum, in order to "collaborate in advancing the development of smart robotics technologies".

Boston Dynamics has produced a number of robots that mimic human and animal movement including Atlas, a humanoid model that co-ordinates motion and balance using its arms and legs and can pick itself up off the ground when knocked over.

"Robotics as a field has great potential, and we're happy to see Boston Dynamics and Schaft join the SoftBank team to continue contributing to the next generation of robotics", an Alphabet spokesperson said.

More recently, Softbank invested $20 million in Fetch Robotics, which makes mobile robots for warehouse fulfillment as well as a mobile manipulator that (they hope) will soon transition from research platform to a robot that can pick objects off of shelves.

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"We still have quite a bit of robotics work that we're doing within X", Porat said, speaking at Code Conference.

It wasn't clear whether Boston Dynamics would remain within SoftBank, a Tokyo-based telecommunications and tech investment company, or become part of the Vision Fund, the $93 billion technology investment fund started by SoftBank's founder, Masayoshi Son.

"We look forward to working with SoftBank in our mission to push the boundaries of what advanced robots can do".

"SoftBank may not have struggled as much if they bought a better robotics company" instead of Aldebaran, Takahashi said.

SoftBank, the first carrier to offer the Apple iPhone in Japan, includes US carrier Sprint and Yahoo Japan in its group business. Alphabet shifted all its robotics companies, aside from Boston Dynamics and Schaft, to its X research lab previous year.

"One of the challenges they've had is that the robotics don't scale as well for mass production", said Gene Munster, an analyst at Loup Ventures.