General-purpose humanoid is faster on the uptake, works for longer

The rapid progress of humanoid robot development is nothing short of astounding. Less than 12 months after introducing its 6th-gen general-purpose humanoid, Canada’s Sanctuary AI has pulled back the curtains on the next iteration of Phoenix.

Sanctuary has been working on a general-purpose humanoid robot for a few years now, with much of the development focus on building and training the upper torso to perform an array of tasks so we don’t have to – including putting labels on boxes, bagging groceries, moving packages, scanning products and soldering. However, it seems that most of the “Robots Doing Stuff” series of videos are actually showing the bots being teleoperated, which is how they’re taught to perform tasks.

A couple of months later, Sanctuary introduced a bipedal version called Phoenix, together with an AI control system called Carbon designed to give the humanoid “human-like intelligence and enable it to do a wide range of work tasks.” Some 11 months later, the seventh generation is ready for its time in the spotlight.

Sanctuary AI Unveils the Next Generation of AI Robotics

The nitty gritty details are pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but the video above lists a bunch of improvements over the already impressive previous generation. These include increased up time leading to more availability for training and data capture, better visual perception and tactile sensing to enable more complex tasks to be performed, and a wider range of motion in the wrists, hands and elbows.

The dev team has managed to reduce the time it takes for Phoenix to learn new tasks and perform them autonomously – down from a few weeks to under 24 hours – “marking a major inflection point in task automation speed and autonomous system capability.” The cost of build materials has been reduced (which positively impacts manufacturing costs), and smaller hydraulics systems mean lower weight and power consumption. The company also says that enhancements to the build process should “bring more units online faster.”

“With Generation 7, we have a system that we believe is the most closely analogous to a person of any available,” said co-founder and CEO of Sanctuary AI, Geordie Rose. “We see this as not only the cornerstone of general purpose AI robotics but a critical step on the path to artificial general intelligence, and we’re thrilled to be leading the charge on it.”

We’ve already seen humanoids from Figure and Apptronik helping out on automotive production lines, and it seems that Sanctuary’s bot will also be donning work clothes, following a strategic partnership formed with Magna earlier this month. In the meantime, look out for our extensive interview with Sanctuary co-founder and CTO, Suzanne Gildert – which should land shortly.

Source: Sanctuary AI

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