Hyundai buys controlling stake in Boston Dynamics
Post-closing, the Group holds an 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, retains the remaining 20 percent stake. The deal valued the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion. Additional financial details were not disclosed.
Boston Dynamics is a leader in developing agile, mobile robots that have been successfully integrated into business operations of many of the world's leading industrial firms. Together, both companies aim to create a robotics value chain, from robot component manufacturing to smart logistics solutions. Additionally, the Group will support Boston Dynamics' continued expansion of its product line and global sales and service footprint.
By acquiring Boston Dynamics and securing a leading presence in the field of robotics, the Group takes another major step toward its strategic transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. To propel this transformation, the Group has invested substantially in the development of future technologies, including autonomous driving, AI, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), smart factories and robots.
In the field of robotics, the Group aims to develop advanced technologies that enhance people's lives and promote safety, thereby realizing the progress for humanity. The deal is also expected to allow the Group and Boston Dynamics to leverage each other's respective strengths in manufacturing, logistics, construction and automation.
Boston Dynamics launched sales of its first commercial robot, Spot in June 2020 and now has hundreds of robots operating in a variety of industries, including power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining. The company also recently unveiled Stretch, its first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers.
Last week RobotLAB and SoftBank Robotics America announced that the humanoid robots Pepper and NAO are now exclusively available through RobotLAB in North America. The partnership also expands Pepper's previous industry and STREAM education focus areas to a broader range of applications, and marks RobotLAB's debut as one of SBRA's Whiz Partners.
Bridgestone buys stake in Kodiak Robotics
Bridgestone Americas has made a minority investment in Kodiak Robotics, a leading U.S.-based self-driving trucking company. The partnership will allow Bridgestone to integrate its smart-sensing tire technologies and fleet solutions into Kodiak's level 4 autonomous trucks. The companies will also pilot future autonomous and smart tire technologies to further enhance vehicle intelligence and advance toward a safer, more efficient, and more sustainable mobility future.
"Automated vehicles offer a number of benefits to commercial fleet customers and society, including safer roads with fewer unexpected incidents, and upwards of 20 percent savings in fuel and efficiency," said Paolo Ferrari, Global Chief Solutions Officer, Bridgestone Corporation, and President & CEO, Bridgestone Americas.
"Advancements in tire-centric technologies are critical to unlocking greater innovation in mobility, while also delivering significant sustainability benefits. This investment will enable Bridgestone and Kodiak to work together to co-develop advanced mobility solutions with speed and precision that will revolutionise commercial trucking."
McKinsey highlights three primary opportunities for automation in construction. The first is automation of what are considered traditional physical tasks on-site, for instance, robots laying bricks and machines paving roads.
The second comes from the automation of modular construction, or rather production, in factories, including 3D printing of components such as facades, and the third centers on digitization and the subsequent automation of design, planning, and management procedures, as well as the vast efficiencies those can create on-site.
"For example, BIM, which essentially brings together the designs of planners and general contractors to identify issues before they move to the site, makes the planning process more efficient. But more importantly, it makes the on-site execution more efficient, allowing project teams to eliminate mistakes and better coordinate the workforce." it states.
Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way?
According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.
As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory.
PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.
While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.
“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said.
Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.
PlanRadar research summary
As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France.
- The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.
- It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects.
- Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory.
- Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.
- Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation.
- Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.
- BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
- When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country.
- From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.
- France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects.
- In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level.
- At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard.
The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.