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OpenAI-Backed Physical Intelligence Aims to Develop AI for Robots

A new company called Physical Intelligence has announced its launch, saying it aims to develop artificial intelligence (AI) to power “the robots of today and the physically actuated devices of the future.”

“Together with a set of amazing folks we decided to start a company that tackles one of the hardest and most impactful problems — Physical Intelligence,” Karol Hausman, co-founder and CEO of the company, said in a Tuesday (March 12) post on X.

Physical Intelligence is in the early stages of building its foundation models and learning algorithms, according to the company’s website. Its team includes engineers, scientists, roboticists and company builders.

The firm is backed by OpenAI, Khosla Ventures, Lux Capital, Sequoia Capital and Thrive Capital, per the release.

Physical Intelligence plans to develop a universal AI model that can power robots and other physical devices for any application, Hausman told Bloomberg in a report posted Tuesday.

Rather than powering robots that perform repetitive tasks in warehouses or factories, the company aims to build a universal AI model that can be used across a variety of applications, according to the report.

Physical Intelligence will not build the hardware; instead, it will purchase different types of robots with which it will train its software, the report said.

Among the challenges it faces, like other developers of software for robots, is the time-consuming and costly job of training robots to accomplish physical tasks, per the report. Gathering data from the physical world is more challenging than gathering the text to train AI how to use language.

In another recent development in the robotics space, it was reported March 4 that Amazon has a humanoid device moving bins in one of its warehouses. The maker of the humanoid robot called Digit, Agility Robotics, plans to build 10,000 robots a year for warehouses and storerooms worldwide.

In January, AI and robotics company 1X announced that it raised $100 million in Series B funding, saying it will use the new funding to bring to market its second-generation android called NEO, which is a bipedal humanoid designed to perform everyday tasks in consumers’ homes.