TECH

Humanoid robot startup attracts investment from technology giants


Startup Figure AI has scored a significant investment from some of technology's heavyweights. The company attracted the attention of Jeff Bezos, Nvidia, OpenAI and Microsoft, among other investors, raising $675 million and reaching a valuation of $2.6 billion.

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Figure AI

  • Figure AI, founded in 2022, is a pioneer in the development of versatile humanoid robots.
  • Its flagship product, the Figure 01, has the appearance and mobility of a human being, opening the door to a variety of applications in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics and retail, where labor shortages are a persistent challenge.
  • Recently, Figure AI released an impressive video showing Figure 01 in action.
  • The robot demonstrated remarkable abilities, from picking up and moving objects to performing simple tasks in a work environment.
  • Figure AI's ultimate goal is to equip its humanoid robots with the ability to perform everyday tasks autonomously.
  • However, achieving this goal will require significant advances in artificial intelligence systems.

robotics market

Competition in the robotics market is fierce, with companies such as Agility Robotics and Boston Dynamics seeking leadership in the sector.

Goldman Sachs analysts told CNBC that they expect the humanoid robot market to reach $38 billion by 2035 and project that more than 250,000 units could be shipped by 2030.

“Right now, we're at an early curve where there's a lot of interest in humanoids, and I think that will continue for a while,” said Tom Andersson, co-founder and principal analyst at STIQ Ltd., which publishes research on robotics and retail technologies. . Andersson said “several significant changes” will be needed before it can be rolled out widely.

As part of the deal announced Thursday, Figure said it is partnering with ChatGPT maker OpenAI to “develop next-generation AI models for humanoid robots.” The company will also use Microsoft's Azure cloud services for AI infrastructure, training and storage, Figure said.

Humanoid robots require expensive components such as actuators, motors and sensors to function. Goldman researchers say these costs are expected to decline in the coming years, noting that they have already dropped to between $30,000 and $150,000 per unit, from a range of $50,000 to $250,000 per unit last year.

Intel's venture capital fund was also part of Figure AI's investment round, along with Cathie Wood's Ark Invest, Align Ventures and existing investor Parkway Venture Capital.



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