Putting the Boston in Boston Dynamics with Marc Raibert

Founder Marc Raibert discusses the city of the firm’s birth and his plans to advance robotic and AI research

When you name your company Boston Dynamics, certain geographical constraints are inserted into the operation. While the Spot-maker is, by many accounts, a global brand, it’s one that remains deeply tied to Massachusetts, even as it’s changed hands between owners in California, Japan and, most recently, South Korea.

Raibert, who currently runs the somewhat loosely affiliated Hyundai-funded Boston Dynamics AI Institutein Cambridge’s Kendall Square, notes that he left town for about a decade before the company’s founding. He spent that time working at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Announced in August of last year, the AI Institute gets back to Raibert and Boston Dynamics’ research roots. It’s a move away from the company’s shift toward productization in recent years, which have found it bringing products like Spot and Handle to market. While Hyundai is currently the institute’s only stockholder, Raibert says there’s currently no push to productize its research for either the carmaker or its namesake robotics firm.

There are plenty of options for the Institute’s future patents and other IP, including the possibility of developing its spinout startups.

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