Microsoft and Jeff Bezos raise $675m for an android startup

A start-up company that produces humanoid robotics has raised $675 millions from investors, including some of the biggest technology companies in the world.

Microsoft, OpenAI, Nvidia, and Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon all participated in the funding round that valued the Californian artificial-intelligence robotics company at $2.6 Billion.

Brett Adcock started Figure in 2022 with the goal of addressing the shortage of workers and an ageing population, as well as reducing the number of people doing unsafe jobs.

According to its website, the company wants to use its AI powered humanoids in order to assist at home, take care of the elderly, and even build new cities on different planets. They are expected to find use in the industry in areas like manufacturing and warehouses in the near future.

The sci-fi creations of Figure stand on two feet and have dexterous fingers. The company has promised not to use the figures in military or defence purposes.

The deal grants the company access through Microsoft Azure to AI infrastructure and OpenAI is partnering to “develop next generation AI models for robots”.

is not the only company focusing on. According to a recent Goldman Sachs study, the market addressable for robots will reach $38 billion in 2035. They can be used to do everything from fold laundry to handle hazardous waste.

The cost of robot components is falling, and models can train themselves. This means that their development is accelerating.

Elon Musk has been building a robot that looks like a person called Optimus. It was first shown in 2022. This week, he shared a video of the black-and-white model walking around a laboratory, swinging its hands in a lifelike manner, as if to balance. In January, the billionaire said that there would be one billion androids of this type on Earth in twenty years.

OpenAI invested $100 million in 1X, an Norwegian start-up that was founded in 2014. It builds a robot named NEO. Agility Robotics is another company backed by Amazon that builds robots with humanlike movements to fit in “a world for people”.