MASTERCLASSING

SoftBank agrees to buy robotics firms Boston Dynamics and Schaft from Alphabet

Tyrone Stewart

Boston Dynamics BigDogJapanese multinational telecoms and internet company SoftBank has agreed to acquire two robotics businesses from Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The terms of the deals have not been disclosed.



Boston Dynamics – the developers of robots such as BigDog and WildCat – and Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft will join the SoftBank portfolio of businesses. SoftBank, of course, already has one robot in its ranks in the form of its humanoid called ‘Pepper’.



“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. “Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution… 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.”



Boston Dynamics, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts if you couldn’t have guessed, was founded back in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Google acquired the company in December 2013. Meanwhile, Schaft was founded in 2012 in the JSK Robotics Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, and was acquired by Google in the same month as Boston Dynamics was.

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