Microsoft, Sanctuary AI Team to Advance General Purpose Robots

The companies will leverage Microsoft Azure to develop new AI models for robots

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

May 3, 2024

2 Min Read
Sanctuary AI's robot Phoenix shakes a human hand
Sanctuary AI

Microsoft has announced a collaboration with humanoid robotics developer Sanctuary AI to develop AI models for general-purpose robots, including Sanctuary’s own humanoid design, Phoenix.

According to the partners, Sanctuary AI will leverage Microsoft’s Azure cloud resources for their AI workloads.

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Sanctuary AI said it is working towards "Large Behavior Models" (LBMs), which allow AI systems to learn from real-world experience.

These new models will be used for Carbon, Sanctuary’s AI control system, deployed in its Phoenix robots. Carbon uses a foundation of “high-quality behavioral data” to enable robots to perform complex tasks, according to Sanctuary AI. Under the new collaboration, Carbon will also use Microsoft Azure infrastructure for training, inference, networking, and storage. 

“Creating systems that think like and understand us is one of the biggest civilization-level technical problems and opportunities that we will ever face,” said Geordie Rose, Sanctuary AI’s CEO. “A challenge like this requires the best global minds to work together. We’re excited to be working with Microsoft to unlock the next generation of AI models that will power-general purpose robots.” 

Sanctuary AI’s robots have been tested across 400 ‘customer-defined’ tasks across 15 industries, focusing on automotive, manufacturing and logistics. 

Related:Microsoft, Open AI to Invest $500M in Humanoid Robot Startup

"We're excited to be working with Sanctuary AI to accelerate AI model innovation and embodied AI research in areas like reasoning, planning, and human-agent collaboration," said Ashley Llorens, Microsoft Research’s managing director. "Through our collaboration, Sanctuary AI will have access to Microsoft Azure infrastructure and services as they explore the future of general-purpose robots that can assist across various use cases and industries." 

This is not the first time Microsoft has backed the burgeoning humanoid robotics industry. The company spearheaded a Series B funding round in February for Figure Robotics, Sanctuary AI’s main competitor. 

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

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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