According to a report by Bloomberg, Microsoft and OpenAI, two of the biggest players in the AI industry, are currently in discussions of jointly investing up to $500 million in a startup specializing in humanoid robotics.
The prospective recipient of this investment is Figure AI, a company with ambitions to “deploy autonomous humanoid workers” on a global scale, as stated on its website.
The investment could raise Figure AI’s total valuation to around $1.9 billion, which would mark an industry first for the humanoid robotics sector, as per Bloomberg’s resources familiar with the matter.
A separate robotics startup called 1X Technologies has also previously received a substantial sum from the ChatGPT maker, OpenAI. The AI company spearheaded its Series A funding with a total of $23.5 million. 1X Technologies has raised a total of $100 million since its inception.
Founded in 2022, Figure AI has emerged under the leadership of CEO Brett Adcock, as indicated in a report by Axios. Figure AI boasts a highly skilled team of renowned industry experts in the robotics sector both from Tesla as well as Boston Dynamics. The latter is known for its work on robot dogs including Spot.
In the year 2024, aside from Large Language Models (LLMs), robotics is poised to emerge as a standout phenomenon, as stated by Nvidia’s Senior AI Scientist, Jim Fan. The competition to develop the most cutting-edge robotics solutions is intensifying within a market projected to reach a staggering $3 trillion in value by the year 2050.
As reported in an X post by Adcock, Figure AI recently joined hands with BMW earlier this month. In a press release, it was revealed that BMW is set to conduct trials of Figure AI’s humanoid robots within one of its South Carolina manufacturing facilities. This collaboration is a result of BMW’s recognition of how these robots can effectively contribute to enhancing automotive production processes.
Additionally, during an earnings call with investors, Elon Musk revealed plans to commence the shipment of units from Tesla’s humanoid robot, known as ‘Optimus’ or ‘Tesla bot’, in the upcoming year. He expressed optimism, suggesting a “good chance” for this development.