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Teenage me, who openly mocked the Hyundai cars of the 1990s and 2000s, would be shocked at what I’m about to say. Hyundai is currently one of the most exciting car companies on the planet. Its retro concepts are dope, its “N” trim are out-BMWing BMW, and its EVs have the best stats around. And that’s not all, Hyundai even bought a cutting-edge robotics company: Boston Dynamics.

What’s going on at Hyundai? Well, first of all the South Korean government seems determine its national automotive companies remain competitive. To this end, it required Hyundai buy a stake in Kia. Today, Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis have a complex relationship that incentivizes them to share research and technology.

It is obvious that Hyundai has been benchmarking Teslas, then beating them at their own game. The Ioniq series sets itself apart with 800-volt charging speeds (exceeding Tesla’s sedans and crossovers). The resulting vehicles are efficient and fast charging, and these EVs can thus roadtrip indefinitely. This is what the future looks like.

Bipedal and quadruped Boston Dynamics robots stand in front of a Hyundai electric SUV.
Boston Dynamics Robots and Hyundai EV | Hyundai

Hyundai has also hired multiple folks from BMW, including Albert Biermann, the head of the M Division. He has used the same formula to engineer track-ready “N” variants of many Hyundai models. The recent Ioniq 5 N is an electric crossover that somehow blows the doors off its ICE competition.

That’s not all. Hyundai is winning the hearts of young car buyers around the globe with its retro-futuristic styling. Concepts such as the N Vision 74 put the world on notice. The Ioniq 5 N is the example of incorporating trendy 1980s design language in a modern production car.

As if that wasn’t all enough to make Elon Musk’s spidey senses tingle, Hyundai is now building a robot army. Building legged robots that can complete a variety of tasks and navigate diverse terrain is really hard work. While Elon Musk chose to launch his robotics company with a human dancer wearing a robot suit, Boston Dynamics has spent 32 years testing and refining two and four-legged robots. It occasionally releases a viral video, such as robots doing backflips, then gets back to work. It was a model donated by Boston Dynamics that was the first police robot shot in the line of duty.

Hyundai began buying shares of Boston Dynamics late in 2020, completing an acquisition in June 2021. Hyundai called the acquisition “a significant leap forward towards our overall goal of ‘Progress for Humanity.'” In the short term, the company just plans to fund Boston Dynamics grueling slog toward robots that can help humans with dangerous or dull jobs. But Hyundai admits its new partner’s research may help with logistics, manufacturing, autonomous cars, and urban “air mobility.”

See Boston Dynamics’ “Spot” dancing during his first day at work with Hyundai in the video below: