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Sprint parent company SoftBank is already known for its robotics ventures, including companion and customer service robot Pepper, but the company is looking to further expand its capabilities with the purchase of Boston Dynamics from Alphabet.

The deal, which was announced Friday, will also see SoftBank take on bipedal robotics company Schaft. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said the buy would put SoftBank in a better position to tackle future stages in the “Information Revolution.”

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities. Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution, and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots,” he commented. “I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer, and more fulfilling.”

Boston Dynamics is known for the creation of the quadruped robot called BigDog, as well as the biped robot named Atlas. Videos of the company’s gadgets in action can be seen here.

Among many other things, the acquisition could help SoftBank boost customer service capabilities like those delivered by Pepper. The humanoid robot comes with a number of “Promoter” software solutions that allow it to be used by businesses for marketing initiatives, including brand campaigns, loyalty programs, sales, and special offers.

SoftBank's Pepper robot. Credit: SoftBank

U.S. wireless carrier C Spire was one of the first adopters of the Pepper Promoter solution. C Spire President Stephen Bye said the carrier is planning to utilize Pepper in its retail, marketing, and customer service operations to improve consumer awareness, drive engagement, and increase interest in company products, services, and programs. 

“As a company that gets its inspiration from our customers, we’re excited to partner with (SoftBank) to usher in a new era of technology innovation through robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Bye commented. “This is the next great technology frontier.”

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