Sanctuary AI Marks $140M in Funding for ‘Human-Like’ Robots

Canada’s Sanctuary AI has landed new funding to create “humanlike intelligence in general purpose robots.”

The unspecified funding amount, announced Wednesday (July 3), came from venture capital investor BDC Capital and the province of British Columbia’s InBC fund, and brings total investment in Sanctuary to more than $140 million.

“Following the incredible impact of pretrained transformers on the digital world over the last seven years, with acceleration in the last few, we see AI [artificial intelligence] in the physical world as being the next major frontier for impacting the way we work and live.” said Olivia Norton, Sanctuary AI’s co-founder and chief technology/product officer.

“With aging populations, plummeting birth rates, and a changing view on work, intelligent embodied systems, or general purpose robots, will play an important role in provincial and national productivity,” Norton added. “We believe that Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in this space.”

PYMNTS looked at the role of robots and AI in the workplace earlier this year in a conversation with Ben Gruettner, vice president of revenue at Robust.AI.

He said these technologies, coupled with the human touch, can help companies stay on top of changing end-market demands and the changing workflows that demand flexibility.

“Generative AI is arriving on the warehouse floor faster than many anticipated,” he told PYMNTS, adding that “There’s no either/or when it comes to workers and robots.”

Used collaboratively, just like the way that warehouse workers use forklifts, pallet jacks and hand trucks, robots can help with “filling the job gap and helping warehouses and fulfillment centers deal with increasingly high demand.”

In a separate interview earlier this year — prompted by Figure AI’s $675 million fundraise to AI-powered humanoid robots — PYMNTS discussed robotics with Sarah Sebo, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Chicago.

“AI can better enable robots to better understand their environments, allowing them to better detect objects and people they come across,” said Sebo, who directs the university’s Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) Lab.

“AI can allow robots to generate language to more fluidly communicate with people and respond more intelligently to human speech. Finally, AI can help robots to adapt and learn to perform tasks better over time by receiving feedback, making it more likely that the robot behaves in ways that receive positive feedback and less likely to behave in ways that receive negative feedback.”

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