Figure AI: Humanoid robot maker given .6bn valuation by Jeff Bezos

Figure AI: Humanoid robot maker given $2.6bn valuation by Jeff Bezos

Figure AI has reportedly been given a valuation of $2.6 billion from investors including Jeff Bezos, Nvidia, and Microsoft.

The startup working to build humanoid robots that can perform dangerous and undesirable jobs was able to raise $675 million, when it was seeking $500 million in a funding round led by Microsoft Corp.

Founded in 2022, the California-based company said that its priority will be in industries such as manufacturing, shipping and logistics, warehousing, and retail, “where labor shortages are the most severe.” Its founder Brett Adcock shared the news on X, stating that, “OpenAI & Figure signed a collaboration agreement to develop next-generation AI models for robots”

“Our vision at Figure is to bring humanoid robots into commercial operations as soon as possible. This investment, combined with our partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft, ensures that we are well-prepared to bring embodied AI into the world to make a transformative impact on humanity,” said Adcock in a statement.

He added, “AI and robotics are the future, and I am grateful to have the support of investors and partners who believe in being at the forefront.”

Earlier this week, the company unveiled a video demonstrating Figure 01’s capabilities. This robot, connected by a tether, can walk on two legs and uses its fingers to lift a plastic crate. It then proceeds to walk a few additional steps before setting the crate down on a conveyor belt. The company already showcased a robot making coffee in January.

The beginning of humanoid robots

Last year, the UN’s International Telecommunication Union held its first news conference featuring humanoid social robots. Nine robots, carefully crafted to resemble humans, took center stage at the news conference. One of the robots named Sophia was developed by Hanson Robotics, while others were programmed by Beyond Imagination, the University of Geneva, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Neura Robotics, Aidan Meller, SingularityNET, and Engineered Arts.

The event looked at networking to build new projects, calls to action, and partnerships. It featured talks from thought leaders as well as demonstrations of state-of-the-art AI solutions that could achieve global scale with the support of the international AI for Good community. 

1X Technologies also confirmed a breakthrough in teaching skills to its android EVE, thanks to special neural networks, which allow the bots to learn by watching videos of people doing activities. Like Figure AI, the Norway-based humanoid robotics firm is backed by OpenAI.

Featured image: Canva / DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Suswati Basu

Freelance journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award.

With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News
and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google.

Her career also includes a seven-year tenure at the leading AI company Dataminr, where she led the Europe desk and launched the company’s first employee resource group for disabilities. Before this, Suswati worked as a journalist in China for four years, investigating censorship and the Great Firewall, and acquired proficiency in several languages.

In recent years, Suswati has been nominated for six awards, including the Independent Podcast Awards, International Women’s Podcast Awards, and the Anthem Awards for her literary social affairs show.

Her areas of speciality span a wide range, including technology, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), social politics, mental health, and nonfiction books.

The post “Figure AI: Humanoid robot maker given $2.6bn valuation by Jeff Bezos” by Suswati Basu was published on 03/01/2024 by