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5 things you should know about Figure AI: From latest funding to ethical consideration

5 things you should know about Figure AI: From latest funding to ethical consideration
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Imagine a world where robots seamlessly interact with humans in everyday life, assisting us in various tasks and pushing the boundaries of technology. This is the ambitious vision driving Figure AI, a California-based robotics startup founded in 2022 by Brett Adcock (CEO).

Earlier this year, Skype’s co-founder-led Starship Technologies raises $90M to make delivery robots with 99% autonomy rate even better. This shows, that there are quite a number of robotics startups coming in which is targeting the labor section of the every industry. Moreover, even last year, a startup called Diligent Robotics bagged $25M to rollout Moxi robot to assist nurses in hospitals.

Figure AI has recently captured headlines with its unique approach to humanoid robots and a significant funding round, but what exactly is the company, and what potential does its technology hold? Here are five key points to understand this company:

1. Building the future of humanoid robots

Figure AI’s primary focus is the design and development of next-generation humanoid robots capable of interacting with the physical world in a human-like manner. Headquartered in California, the company aims to push the boundaries of robotics by creating robots that “can eliminate the need for unsafe and undesirable jobs — ultimately allowing us to live happier, more purposeful lives.”

Their world’s first commercially-viable autonomous humanoid robot which they call Figure 01 is 5ft 6in tall, and delivers a payload of 20 kg and weighs 60 kg. The robot runs on electricity and has a runtime of 5 hours and has a speed of 1.2m/s.

2. Recent funding round and investor backing

A few days back, Figure AI announced a substantial funding round of $675 million, with a pre-money valuation of roughly $2 billion. This impressive haul was led by Jeff Bezos’ Explore Investments and included tech giants like Microsoft and Nvidia along with an Amazon-affiliated fund. Other notable investors include Intel’s venture capital arm, LG Innotek, and Samsung’s investment group. This significant financial backing proves the confidence investors have in Figure AI’s technology and its potential future applications.

3. The competition landscape

The field of humanoid robotics is witnessing increasing activity, with established companies like Boston Dynamics and emerging players like Hyundai also working on similar projects. Each company has its unique approach, with Boston Dynamics focusing on highly agile and dynamic robots, Honda on robots for human assistance, and Hyundai on robots for industrial applications. Figure AI differentiates itself by focusing on advanced human-like interaction, but the overall landscape remains competitive.

Moreover, the Figure 01’s direct competitor would definitely be NEO, second-generation android robot from a Norwegian startup 1X Technologies who recently raised $100 million early this year.

4. Potential applications and benefits

Figure AI envisions its robots being used in various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. In these sectors, robots could perform tasks like assembly, patient care, and delivery, potentially improving efficiency, alleviating pressure on human workers, and streamlining processes.

Beyond these specific examples, the potential applications of Figure AI’s robots extend to numerous other fields, including: construction, agriculture education, search and rescue and more.

It’s important to note that these are just potential applications, and the full capabilities of Figure AI’s robots are still under development. However, the potential benefits for increased efficiency, improved working conditions, and innovative solutions across various industries are undeniable.

5. Ethical considerations and future development

The development of advanced robots raises ethical concerns, such as job displacement, safety, and potential misuse. It is crucial for companies like Figure AI to address these concerns proactively through responsible development and deployment of their technology. Additionally, the company will need to overcome significant technical challenges to bring its ambitious vision of highly advanced humanoid robots to fruition.

Figure AI represents a significant player in the growing field of humanoid robotics. While the company remains in its early stages and faces substantial competition, its recent funding round and the backing of prominent investors suggest a promising future. However, Figure AI, along with all players in this field, must route through ethical considerations and technological hurdles to ensure that its robots are deployed responsibly and contribute meaningfully to society.

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