The Japanese telecom giant is acquiring two companies that build walking robots. As Fred Katayama reports, it's aggressively acquiring companies to boost its R&D capabilities.
Softbank banking further on bots. The Japanese telecom giant is buying two companies that build walking robots from Google's parent, Alphabet. Boston Dyanmics creates sci-fi-looking robots that mimic human and animal movement, and some of their machines are developed with or funded by the U.S. military. C-21 president Arnis Mangolds, said Boston Dynamics is "probably the leader in the U.S. But the problem is it's not ready for prime time, and very few people have tolerance for that." Softbank, known for its popular humanoid named Pepper, is also buying a University of Tokyo spinoff called Schaft that develops bipedal robots for navigating uneven terrain. Softbank wouldn't disclose how much it's paying for the two companies. Investors welcomed the news, driving its shares up nearly 7-and-a-half percent in Tokyo. Alphabet shares dipped at the market open. Led by Masayoshi Son, Softbank is aggressively acquiring companies to boost its R&D capabilities. It's backing a collosal $93 billion private equity fund to invest in technologies like artificial intelligence.