Robotics & Automation News

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Figure to supply ‘general purpose’ humanoid robots to BMW Manufacturing

Figure, a California-based company developing autonomous humanoid robots, has signed a commercial agreement with BMW Manufacturing to install general purpose robots in automotive manufacturing environments.

Figure says its humanoid robots enable the automation of difficult, unsafe, or tedious tasks throughout the manufacturing process, which in turn allows employees to focus on skills and processes that cannot be automated, as well as continuous improvement in production efficiency and safety.

Brett Adcock, founder and CEO of Figure, says: “Single-purpose robotics have saturated the commercial market for decades, but the potential of general purpose robotics is completely untapped.

“Figure’s robots will enable companies to increase productivity, reduce costs, and create a safer and more consistent environment.

“We look forward to working side-by-side with BMW Manufacturing to integrate AI and robotics into automotive production.”

Under the agreement, BMW Manufacturing and Figure will pursue a milestone-based approach. In the first phase, Figure will identify initial use cases to apply the Figure robots in automotive production.

Once the first phase has been completed, the Figure robots will begin staged deployment at BMW’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Beyond the deployment of humanoid robots in an automotive manufacturing environment, BMW Manufacturing and Figure jointly will explore advanced technology topics such as artificial intelligence, robot control, manufacturing virtualization, and robot integration.

Dr Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, says: “The automotive industry, and with it the production of vehicles, is evolving rapidly.

“BMW Manufacturing is committed to integrating innovative technologies in our production systems to drive our future forward as an industry leader and innovator.

“The use of general purpose robot solutions has the potential to make productivity more efficient, to support the growing demands of our consumers, and to enable our team to focus on the transformation ahead of us.”

New investment into Figure

According to Fortune and other news websites, Figure is about to raise $675 million in its new funding round, with investment from the likes of Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Nvidia, OpenAI and Microsoft.

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