Sanctuary AI receives strategic financing from BDC Capital and InBC

The maker behind the world’s first humanoid general-purpose robot has now raised a total of $140 million

Sanctuary AI, the Vancouver-based developer of humanoid general-purpose robots, announced yesterday a strategic investment by BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund and InBC Investment for an undisclosed amount — bringing the total amount raised to $140 million.

“With this financing, Sanctuary will continue advancing its commercial scale, research and development, and adding to its team in Vancouver — including positions in AI, robotics, science, engineering, design, and operations,” wrote the company in a blog.

Founded by Geordie Rose and Olivia Norton, Sanctuary’s mission is to create humanoid general-purpose robots that help people work more safely, efficiently, and sustainably.

The company’s PhoenixTM is the world’s first humanoid general-purpose robot powered by CarbonTM, an AI control system that enables the performance of various tasks. This is made possible because Carbon “mimics the subsystems found in the human brain, giving Phoenix an advanced human-like range of motion, visual perception and tactile sensing, including industry-leading hands with fine dexterity.”

“[Our] robots are designed to work alongside people. In addition to addressing labour shortages, they’re taking on tasks that are unpleasant or dangerous for humans, enabling work to be completed from anywhere and helping teams to work more safely, efficiently and sustainably,” Sanctuary added in a blog. “The technology also has the potential to create new jobs beyond the limits of human physiology, as well as provide opportunities to those less capable of physical work.”

According to Sanctuary, industries are already using their technology to improve operations and employee satisfaction.

Last year, the company carried out two pilots in Canadian Tire-owned retail stores in B.C. — marking the first of their kind in a commercial setting. The pilots were designed to “alleviate monotonous tasks and free employees up for more valuable work such as customer service.”

As for this year, Magna, an automotive supply company, will begin piloting Sanctuary’s robots in its manufacturing facilities. In addition, Microsoft is collaborating with Sanctuary on AI research and development.

“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,” said Norton. “We believe that Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in this space.”


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