OpenAI partners with Figure AI to advance humanoid robot development

OpenAI partners with Figure AI to advance humanoid robot development

OpenAI, known for creating ChatGPT, has entered into a collaboration with Figure AI with the objective of advancing the development of next-generation AI models for humanoid robots. This partnership aims to leverage OpenAI's expertise in AI research and multimodal models to enhance the capabilities of Figure AI's robots, particularly in processing and reasoning from language. According to a press release from Figure AI, this collaboration is set to accelerate the company's commercial progress by improving the functional applications of its robots in everyday settings.

Supported by major industry players such as Microsoft, Nvidia, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Figure AI recently secured $675 million in Series B funding, bringing its valuation to $2.6 billion. This significant investment reflects the tech community's confidence in Figure's project and OpenAI's strategic interest in the potential of robots to transform the future of work. Previously, OpenAI led a funding round for robotics startup 1X Technologies, signaling its commitment to the robotics sector.

Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI, and Peter Welinder, VP of Product and Partnerships at OpenAI, have both emphasized the strategic alignment between OpenAI's AI research capabilities and Figure's innovative robotics technology. Welinder expressed optimism about the partnership's potential to explore and realize the capacities of humanoid robots when integrated with advanced AI models.

Figure's prototype, Figure-01, is designed to assist in sectors currently experiencing labor shortages, such as manufacturing and logistics. With 616,000 manufacturing job openings reported by the US Chamber of Commerce in August 2023, Figure-01 aims to mitigate these gaps by performing tasks in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and retail.

Brett Adcock, CEO of Figure AI, demonstrated the robot's ability to learn and perform tasks, such as operating a coffee machine, by observing human actions. This approach towards "end-to-end" AI learning represents a significant development in AI application, allowing robots to learn complete processes in a unified manner.

The collaboration between OpenAI and Figure AI is a noteworthy step in the integration of humanoid robots into practical applications, aiming to address workforce shortages and enhance operational efficiencies across industries. The partnership also plans to use Microsoft's Azure cloud services for AI infrastructure, showcasing the technological and investment efforts driving this initiative.

As the humanoid robot market continues to develop, with predictions of reaching $38 billion by 2035, this alliance between OpenAI, Figure AI, and their supporting partners marks a critical advancement in making humanoid robots a viable solution for a variety of industry challenges.

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