Experts from Ford, Toyota and Hyundai outline why automakers are pouring money into robotics

Automakers’ interest in robotics Certainly not a new phenomenon: Robots and automation have long played a role in manufacturing and both are clearly central to their push into AV. But lately, a number of companies are going even deeper into this area, with plans to join a broad spectrum of categories that touch robotics.

At TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, we spoke to a trio of experts from three major automakers. Max Bajracharya of Toyota Research Institute, Mario Santillo of Ford and Ernestine Fu of Hyundai Motor Group join us to discuss their companies’ unique approach to robotics.

Why are automakers so interested in robotics?

Let’s get the simple question out of the way first, shall we? Moving on from current investments in manufacturing and autonomous vehicles, why are so many carmakers so excited about companies like Boston Dynamics and Agility Robotics?

Bajracharya: I think all automakers are assuming that the automotive business will not be the same in future as it is today. What many automakers, including Toyota, are looking forward to. Automakers are very well positioned to take advantage of what they know about robotics and manufacturing to take the robotics market. (timestamp: 1:01)

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Role of concept vehicles

Concept cars are nothing new in the industry, but even so, Hyundai’s recently announced Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) was pretty wild, with big, outstretched legs that helped it move off-road.

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