Figure Humanoid Robot Startup comes from stealth

by Ana Lopez

It’s not enough that artificial intelligence (AI) has become an ongoing public obsession. A startup that just left stealth mode this week, Figureaims to make 5’6″ humanoid robots as ubiquitous as press releases and student essays written by ChatGPT.

TechCrunch first reported on Figure in September 2022 and in a new one article published today revealed that the company, founded by Brett Adcock, already has $100 million in funding (from Adcock, who co-founded Archer, an electric vertical takeoff and landing or eVTOL aircraft company in San Jose, California), and an impressive graduate staff of 40. Here’s more from TC:

“The team is ex-Boston Dynamics, Tesla, Apple SPG, IHMC, Cruise [and Alphabet X]. Together, we are focused on building a better future for humanity through the intersection of AI and robotics,” Adcock told TechCrunch. “We have been fortunate to hire the best in the world with specific skills in AI, Controls, Electrical, Integration, Software and mechanical systems. The team believes we are at a point where we can commercialize robots that have been mostly R&D for the past two decades. This is something that many of our team have long dreamed of.”

Adcock also addressed his company’s official public disclosure in a Twitter thread.

“We are now working on our second-generation humanoid robot,” Adcock told TechCrunch, “which will be fully operational for commercial operations. In the short term, we believe it is important to validate our humanoid in commercial operations as the critical milestone for the Figure team.”

On Figure’s website, Adcock sketched one master plan for “positively influencing the future of humanity”, which he says is “the moral priority of our time”.

Figure, according to Adcock, will require “billions of dollars invested and technical innovation to achieve mass market impact”. Adcock believes that as automation continues to grow in scale, a labor-based economic revolution will take place. Ultimately, human manual labor will be optional. Figure is betting on what it calls “general purpose humanoids”, capable of operating in human environments and one day providing virtually unlimited support to humanity in a variety of ways. The startup believes it is at the head of something with unprecedented market potential.

The plan of figure in its simplest form, according to Brett Adcock, is this:

  • Build a feature-complete electromechanical humanoid.
  • Perform humanoid manipulation.
  • Integrate hominids into the workforce.

TechCrunch notes that Adcock did not comment on his company’s most obvious competitor, Tesla’s Optimus Robot. However, he said he believes his humanoid robot, Figure 01, is “at the forefront of any electromechanical humanoid in history.”

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