It is reported that Hyundai Motor Group of South Korea will buy Boston power from Softbank group for 800 billion to 900 billion won (736 million to 828 million US dollars). The two companies have been discussing a sale since at least early November, according to an earlier report by the company. If the deal is concluded, it will be Boston dog’s third change of ownership after Google and Softbank.
The ultimate goal of robotics is the “multi legged robot” which imitates the movement form of quadrupeds. Therefore, since its launch in 2005, Boston dog has been active in the public view for many years“ Boston power has given this “big dog” a lot of interesting abilities.
Although it has gained the attention of the public, the business income does not seem to meet the needs of the former owners. It is understood that Boston dogs were officially put on sale in June this year. At present, 400 products have been sold, with a cumulative revenue of more than $30 million. This is not enough for the debt ridden Softbank.
Robot is the focus of Hyundai Motor in recent years. The company launched robot exoskeleton a few years ago, and integrated robot and car together. The acquisition of Boston dog further proves that it attaches importance to robot industry and explores industrial manufacturing.
Robot is the key field of industry 4.0 era
It is not the first time that Hyundai Motor of South Korea has extended its olive branch to the robot industry by purchasing the world’s advanced robots. In 2017, Hyundai Motor launched a robot exoskeleton that can assist factory workers to load; In 2019, the elevated vehicle walking robot for rescue was displayed on CES. Hyundai has said it will invest as much as 1.5 trillion won (US $1.4 billion) in the industry by 2025.
Behind Hyundai’s dedication to robots is the historic change of the world’s manufacturing industry.
The industry recognized that the world has experienced four large-scale manufacturing migration, the 20th century, the United Kingdom will transfer excess capacity to the United States; In the 1950s, traditional manufacturing such as steel and textile moved from the United States to Germany and Japan; In the 1960s and 1970s, Germany and Japan turned their labor-intensive processing industries to the “four little dragons” in Asia and Latin American countries; In the 1980s, developed countries once again transferred labor-intensive industries and low-tech and high consumption industries to developing countries. Therefore, South Korea, China and other countries have become the recipients and beneficiaries of manufacturing transfer.
According to the statistics of IFR, industrial robots are mainly distributed in Asia, Australia, Europe and America. In 2019, the number and scale of robots in operation in Asia and Australia will reach 1.688 million, accounting for 62.01% of the global total, far exceeding those in Europe and America; The number of industrial robots in Europe is 580000, accounting for 21.31%; The number of industrial robots in transportation in America is 389000, accounting for 14.29%.
As far as quadruped robots are concerned, Liu Zhuang, deputy general manager of CCID Consulting intelligent equipment industry research center, pointed out in an interview with China electronic news that quadruped robots have the advantages of flexible movement, strong adaptability to complex environment, etc. Therefore, the research of high-performance quadruped robot with high dynamic, high adaptability, high stability and high load capacity, which can be widely used in rescue, investigation, security and other fields, has gradually become the key direction of bionic robot research in the world. With the rapid development of intelligent algorithm, bionic technology, artificial intelligence and other technologies, the practicability and functionality of quadruped robot will be more perfect, and it has great application and expansion potential in the fields of warehousing and logistics, engineering construction, industry, commerce and people’s livelihood.
For Hyundai, this move is to seize advanced manufacturing technology.
Robot is the right arm for industrial manufacturing, while industrial manufacturing and robot are the foundation. The two play a complementary role. In order to make robots that can replace human work, first of all, the industrial manufacturing ability should be strong. If we master the key technology of robot manufacturing, we can say that we have grasped the development direction of manufacturing industry in industry 4.0 era.
Chinese market attracts the attention of robots in the world
From the current situation of robot industry, China has occupied an important position in the field of industrial robots.
According to the statistics of the International Federation of robotics, Asia is the strongest market for industrial robots, and China’s operating stock has increased by 21%, reaching about 783000 units in 2019. Japan ranked second, with about 355000 units, up 12%.
The huge market of industrial robots in China has attracted the attention of the world’s leading robots. Abb of Switzerland, KUKA of Germany and fanako of Japan have all settled in China. At present, KUKA has been acquired by Midea.
With the strong support of national policies, a number of “new forces” of self-developed robots have emerged in China.
In August this year, the Central Research Institute of Huawei announced a “robot dog” product in Shenzhen, which adopts Huawei AI technology and can be used for intelligent recognition, target positioning and other scenes; In November, CETC launched an animal quadruped robot with a load of 50 kg at the Wuzhen World Internet Conference Exhibition; In 2019, the maker Yushu technology recorded a video of the “load challenge” of its quadruped robot “Lycra dog”, in which eight Lycra dogs easily pulled a car. Xinsong “fire arc” robot intelligent welding system, which is released by Xinsong robot of Chinese Academy of Sciences at Shanghai Industry Expo, is suitable for large-scale production, small batch and customized production.
Under the guidance of national policies and the joint efforts of industry and enterprises, China’s industrial robots are developing at a high speed. In the future, they will create more value and become a strong support for the accelerated development of China’s manufacturing industry.
Editor in charge: Tzh