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The future is here. A major part of what makes for a good sci-fi story is its believability. The Black Mirror episode “Metalhead” depicts a dystopian future where robot dogs police humans in some generalized authoritarian state. If you’ve seen the episode, the new sci-fi-esque Hyundai factory in Singapore might give you a touch of chill in your spine. Hyundai is using experimental future tech in a factory experiment in Singapore, and it is down-right arresting. 

Hyundai bought Boston Dynamics

Hyundai has been hard at work on building a conglomerate of high-tech holdings and marrying them all to make a more futuristic world. While many people have varying thoughts on progress like this, Hyundai is working on something truly horrifying and amazing. 

The Hyundai press site explains the merger like this: “The merger with Boston Dynamics will allow us to merge and expand our future mobility concept, including autonomous cars, logistics, and Urban Air Mobility. To celebrate the occasion, we want to show our vision for ‘Progress for Humanity’ by presenting a whole new era of robots to the world. An era in which robots are fun, capable, and visible companions for humankind that will take our current mobility services to new heights.”

What does a robot factory look like? 

This strange and technological factory is known as the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS. The HMGICS is an experimental factory in the Jurong Innovation District in Singapore. The tech monument is a seven-story, 86,900-square-meter facility packed with more than 200 robots performing more than half of the work. The metal heads produce the Ioniq 5 for the Singapore market and the Ioniq 5 robotaxi for the United States. The Ioniq 6 is slated to be online next year.

The weird part is that the line doesn’t really have people on it. Unlike every factory in the past 150 years, this one is full of robots, like actual robots. The factory is broken up into “cells,” where autonomous robots run the floor. Robots transport various materials, parts, and components. Reports from the factory floor say the factory is spotless. One thing we don’t think about is the fact that robots don’t make trash. More to the point, the complete paradigm shift is so complete that it feels like a different world, even a bit eerie. 

Are there humans in Hyundai’s robot factory

While this new techno-factory is heavily leaning on robo-labor, humans still need to finish many of the more finesse jobs. There are still 270 humans that work in the experimental factory. The human teams are made up of engineers and other robot service personnel, but the majority are still in the production cells. 

But where are the robot dogs? 

Hyundai is using the Boston Dynamics dog “Spot” to monitor production quality. Frankly, the whole thing feels a lot creepier than I would want. When humans finish a task, Spot comes and inspects the work by taking a photo with its odd extended neck and opening its maw, hiding a camera. The photos go to a command center of sorts where white coats survey the footage. 

Hyundai is truly on the cutting edge of production and technology, but is this a good thing? Who can say? The future is a scary place. Speculating on what the future holds is foolish – but fearing it, while natural, is also foolish. Let’s see how the robot dogs do. Maybe there’s a chance they won’t be used against us. Maybe.