(ORDO NEWS) — Startup Figure, launched in 2022, officially unveiled the humanoid robot Figure 01. The machine walks on two legs and is designed to perform the physical work that humans are currently doing.
The key difference between Figure 01 and most similar robots, the authors of the project said, is the artificial intelligence algorithms that control it, which allow the machine to learn and improve its capabilities over time.
The robot will be able to move from basic lifting and carrying tasks to more advanced ones – a general-purpose machine will perform hard work that people are not capable of, or that they do not really like.
In the warehouses of large companies, single-purpose robots are already widely used: at Amazon order centers they transfer boxes to shelves, and at DHL warehouses they unload machines.
Figure 01 is able to completely replace them, becoming a universal solution and doing all the work that a person is capable of, says startup founder Brett Adcock.
Other companies have previously tried or are trying to implement similar projects.
Suffice it to recall the Honda ASIMO multi-purpose robot; “robonauts” NASA, designed to help the crews of spacecraft; as well as Boston Dynamics robots with an advanced vestibular apparatus.
Startup Figure is trying to build a machine that will not only look good on demonstrations, but also bring direct benefits at work.
Brett Adcock launched Figure last year with his own money, spending $10 million. Previously, he created the talent platform Vettery and also founded Archer Aviation, an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer, but now Adcock only works with Figure, which plans to invest more than $100 million.
He spent his funds on attracting specialists in robotics and artificial intelligence, luring personnel from Boston Dynamics and Tesla, among others.
Using experience in robotics and artificial intelligence, engineers endowed Figure 01 with various sensors, perception and navigation algorithms – at the technical level, it turned out to be something between a car with an autopilot and a manipulator arm.
To date, five prototypes of a humanoid robot have been created. The machine has 25 degrees of freedom – it can bend at the waist, pick up a box from the floor and put it on a high shelf.
In the future, the arms will become more mobile, making the robot more useful in practice, because now it mostly only walks.
In the coming months, the robot will undergo extensive testing, and by the end of the year, the authors of the project want to bring the machine to a level at which it can perform most operations in the warehouse.
By 2024, a pilot project will be launched, within which 50 robots will work in a real warehouse, although the full cycle of the project, admits Mr. Adcock, will take 20 or 30 years.
Figure 01 is 168 cm tall, weighs 60 kg, moves at a speed of 1.2 m/s, lifts loads up to 20 kg, and has a battery life of 5 hours of battery life.
The Tesla Optimus has an attractive modern design, but technically it is hardly inferior even to such a powerful project as Atlas from Boston Dynamics – Figure 01 has more compact advanced electric drives that provide smoother movements.
Someday, the head of the company hopes, the gait of a machine will be indistinguishable from a human. The main concept of the project is learning.
Thanks to this quality, the robot will eventually learn to perform quite complex tasks and become more affordable both in manufacturing and in purchase.
He will be able to work in manufacturing, in retail, become a household helper, or even go tospace – a group of such humanoids will be able to colonize other planets.
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