AI-Powered Humanoid Robot Startup 1X Raises $100M
AI and robotics startup 1X has raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by EQT Ventures. 1X is developing humanoid robots designed to help fill labor demands and assist humans at home and in factories.
1X plans to leverage its new capital for scaling the manufacturing and release of its new NEO model of android. The human-shaped robot, as seen above, is specifically designed for domestic tasks. The robot’s AI allows it to learn from observation, seeming to intuit how it can help humans around it. The startup’s vision is to make NEO or something like it the new standard for domestic and service robots. By combining computer vision, motion planning, and deep learning, NEO can dynamically interact with unpredictable home environments. Its bipedal design allows it to navigate indoor spaces smoothly.
“We are thrilled that these leading investors are supporting 1X’s mission of safely deploying Androids with Smart Behavior into new markets,” 1X CEO Bernt Øivind Børnich said in a statement. “Our next milestone will be scaling our data collection strategy for Embodied AI and offering NEO to consumers.”
OpenAI’s Robot Investment
1X has raised $135 million in total, thanks to a $25 million round led by OpenAI and Tiger Global last March. The new round included a secondary transaction where existing investor Sandwater increased its stake to become the third largest investor. New backer Samsung NEXT and early investors Skagerak Capital and Nistad Group also participated.
OpenAI’s participation is notable as its generative AI models are used for various robotic experiments. For instance, Nvidia is using GPT-4 to train robots to perform delicate tasks more quickly and cheaply than previously feasible. There are also the University of Tokyo researchers who linked GPT-4 to a humanoid robot named Alter3 and successfully taught it to dance and make other movements purely through conversation. But, OpenAI may be betting on 1X as a future official robotics partner for its generative AI models.