Geordi Rose is the CEO of Sanctuary AI, which has about $100 million in funding. They have deployed humanoid robots into actual commercial retail stores under a test program. During a week-long pilot test, the store, owned by retail chain Canada Tire Corporation (CTC), saw its mechanical intern handle 110 different retail-related activities in the front and back of the store. These included picking and packing merchandise, sales floor replenishment, cleaning, tagging, labeling, store display compliance, and folding – tasks that previously had been demonstrated only in a Sanctuary AI lab set up to mirror the store.
In its quest to create autonomous robots, Sanctuary AI is starting with humanoid machines operated by people and technology from various partners. These include: Cycorp, maker of the Cyc machine reasoning platform; Apptronik, a make of robots designed to operate with and around people; CSM, an AI-assisted environment for coding 3D applications; Contoro, a maker of teleoperation rigs; Haptx, a maker of industrial haptic gloves; and others.
Marty Reed (Sanctuary AI investor): There are two grand scientific challenges that needed to be overcome in order to create this technology. First, we needed to create a general-purpose robot with the same form and function as a person. We have placed a great deal of emphasis on developing the hands. Given that more than 98 percent of all work requires the dexterity of the human hand, one can’t really create a humanoid robot without human-like hands.
Geordie and Sanctuary AI plan:
Think of it this way so let’s say I have a machine, call it a robot, that can locomote so it can make it around the world and it’s got human-like hands and it’s got human-like senses and you put a person in control of the robot what can’t it do it can do basically everything there is in the human economy it’s the largest market in the world it’s literally trillions of dollars a year. So the the the top line revenue from a machine that is a human-like robot that can be flawlessly and seamlessly teleoperated. The Top Line revenues is essentially infinite you will never be able to build enough of those machines to satisfy the demand of course it’s expensive to deliver the service. As a scalable business it’s not the way you want to do it forever but look at Uber you know Uber has lost money every year.
Sanctuary AI strategy penetration in the market. Make capability first and show that you can actually do a wide variety of different work under teleoperation then get as many of these things out there as you can with ecstatic customers paying you to do labor as a service and then slowly bring out the cost of the robot and increase the autonomy of the robot so that you can cross the unit and make the unit Economics work and if you can do that it’s the biggest business in the world.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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