Figure Humanoid robot startup comes out of stealth

It is not enough that artificial intelligence (AI) has become an ongoing public obsession. A startup that just came out of stealth mode this week, Figurewants to make 5’6″ humanoid robots as ubiquitous as press releases and student essays written by ChatGPT.

TechCrunch first reported on Figure in September 2022, and in a new article released today revealed that the company, founded by Brett Adcock, already has $100 million in funding (from Adcock, who co-founded Archer, an electric vertical take-off and landing or eVTOL airline in San Jose, California), and an impressive staff of 40 people. Here are more TCs:

“The team is ex-Boston Dynamics, Tesla, Apple SPG, IHMC, Cruise [and Alphabet X]. Collectively, we are aligned on building a better future for humanity through the intersection of AI and robotics,” Adcock told TechCrunch. “We were fortunate to hire the best in the world in specific skill areas in AI, controls, electricity, integration, software. and mechanical systems. The team thinks we’re at a point where we can bring robots to market that have mostly been R&D over the past two decades. It’s something a lot of our team have been dreaming of doing for a long time.”

Adcock also addressed his company’s official public reveal in a Twitter thread.

“We are currently working on our second generation humanoid robot,” Adcock told TechCrunch, “which will be complete for commercial operations. In the short term, we believe it is important to validate our humanoid in commercial operations as a critical step. for the Figure team.”

On the Figure website, Adcock described a master plan to “positively affect the future of humanity”, which he says “is the moral priority of our time”.

Figure, according to Adcock, will require “billions of dollars of investment and technical innovation to have an impact on the mass market”. Adcock believes that as automation continues to grow, there will be a labor-based economic revolution. Eventually, human manual labor will be optional. The figure is betting on what it calls “general purpose humanoids” capable of operating in human environments to one day provide virtually limitless support to humanity in a variety of ways. The startup believes it is leading something with unprecedented market potential.

The Figure plan in its simplest form, according to Brett Adcock, is as follows:

  • Build a complete electromechanical humanoid.
  • Perform human-like manipulation.
  • Integrate humanoids into the workforce.

TechCrunch notes that Adcock hasn’t commented on his company’s most obvious competition, Tesla’s Optimus Robot. He did, however, state that he believed his humanoid robot, Figure 01, was “state of the art of any electromechanical humanoid in history”.

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