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SoftBank share price booms after acquiring robot maker from Google

Does this mark the point at which robotics really begins to take off?

By Tom Ball

SoftBank has bought the robotics firm Boston dynamics from Alphabet, the owner of Google. This hint towards innovation has sparked a share price surge for SoftBank, achieving its best results in well over a decade.

Affirming SoftBank’s interest in the possibilities of this technology, it has also announced the purchase of Schaft, a robotics group.

Boston Dynamics has gained global renown for distinctive creations such as BigDog and Atlas. Despite this widespread coverage, the company was put up for sale after failing gain ground commercially.

Robotics is not a new foray for SoftBank, having moved away from Telecoms in pursuit of the space. In 2014 the company developed a robot that has also gained global awareness, Pepper.

The technology conglomerate has reached this position of success on the back of deals orchestrated by the company founder Masayoshi Son.

robot technology

Having been ahead of the curve in predicting the success of e-commerce, the SoftBank founder has been regarded as having formidable insight on disruptive industries. Investors appear to trust this judgement based on the strong increase in share price the purchase prompted, with the company’s shares rising above 7% in Tokyo.

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Developments in robotics have proven popular in Japan, and it has been indicated that Toyota was potentially interested in making the purchase of Boston Dynamics, according to the Nikkei newspaper in Asia.

Masayoshi Son, Chairmain & CEO of SoftBank said in a statement: “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.”

A trend spreading across many industries includes work on machine learning and AI technologies, as humans face more and more unmanageable workloads in the modern world.

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,” said Mr Son.

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