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The investment in Figure Robotics could catapult the company into unicorn status
February 5, 2024
Microsoft and OpenAI are reportedly in talks to invest as much as $500 million in humanoid robotics startup Figure AI.
The funding could raise Figure’s value to $1.9 billion, making it the first humanoid robotics unicorn.
While the companies involved have not yet commented on the potential deal, humanoid robots are tapped as a significant source of investment interest in the next year as companies race to commercialize their designs.
Designed to meet ongoing global labor shortages, Figure 01 was developed to perform heavy-duty tasks around a manufacturing space, capable of carrying up to 44 pounds of payload, running for up to five hours on a single charge and autonomously navigating complex environments.
In January, Figure signed a deal with BMW to deploy its general-purpose robots at the car manufacturer’s warehouses to automate “difficult, unsafe or tedious” tasks.
Figure will initially investigate how the robots should best be utilized before they’re officially deployed at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina facility.
Humanoid robotics competitors are all edging closer to commercialization. Agility Robotics signed a deal with Amazon to have their humanoid designs tested in Amazon warehouses and Apptronik recently announced a collaboration with NASA to commercialize its humanoid design, Apollo.
OpenAI previously invested in humanoid robot startup 1X Technologies, which has developed a bipedal humanoid robot, Neo, and a wheeled robot, Eve for industrial and domestic use cases.
Assistant Editor, IoT World Today
Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.
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