Figure AI Raises $675M from Nvidia Microsoft and Amazon

Feb 29, 2024

Figure AI is the latest startup to attest to the growing interest and investments targeting artificial intelligence plays and technologies. Founded in 2022, the company has raised $675 million in a funding round that values it close to $2.6 billion. The funding round attracted high-profile investors, including Jeff Bezos, Nvidia, Microsoft, and Amazon’s Industrial Innovation Fund.

Figure AI Humanoid Robot

The $675 million investment comes from the startup developing a human-like robot capable of performing dangerous and undesirable jobs. The startup has gotten the vote of confidence from some of the biggest names on Wall Street, going by the impact its robots could have on the industrial landscape.

Figure 01 is the company’s flagship general-purpose robot that looks and moves like humans. Given its human-like capabilities, the robot is already being put to use in the manufacturing, shipping, and logistics sectors. It is also proving to be effective and reliable in warehousing and retail, which explains Amazon’s interest in its investment.

A video released shows the human-like AI-powered robot moving on two legs and using its five-fingered hands to pick up a plastic crate. The robot can move and place boxes on a conveyor belt. Figure AI’s ultimate goal with the robot is to configure it to perform everyday tasks autonomously. Consequently, the company is working on more robust artificial intelligence systems to enhance the robot’s capabilities.

Figure AI has already inked a strategic partnership with Open AI to develop the next-generation AI models for humanoid robots. The company also plans to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud services for its AI infrastructure training and storage.

Growing Humanoid Robots Investments

With the $675 million investment, Figure AI is now in a position to compete against the other companies vying to create the next breakthrough humanoid robots. Amazon is one of the biggest players in the sector through its Agility Robotics and is planning to open a factory that can build 10,000 AI-powered bipedal Digit robots a year.

Agility is in the process of wrapping up construction of a factory in Salem Oregon that will mass produce the humanoid robots. Each of the robots is poised to compete against Figure 01 and will come with two legs and two arms. The robot is designed to maneuver freely and work s alongside humans in warehouses and factories.

Tesla is another company working on a humanoid robot dubbed Optimum, with Boston Dynamics also developing several models as the race to come up with robots that can work like humans heats up. 1X Technologies is another humanoid robot startup that has raised $100 million with the backing of ChatGPT parent OpenAI.

According to Goldman Sachs, the market for humanoid robots is growing at an impressive rate and is expected to be worth $38 billion by 2035. While the costs of developing humanoid robots remain high, owing to expensive components such as actuators, motors, and sensors, Goldman Sachs expects the cost to come down significantly in the next few years.

A report from the investment bank also indicates that there could be more than 250,000 humanoid robot units in operation by 2030. Consequently, the humanoid robots are expected to disrupt the working environment as the robots are expected to take up most of the jobs of coming up with advanced features thanks to artificial intelligence.

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