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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

AI and Autonomy

Sanctuary AI rolls out the first general purpose robot

Phoenix uses a cognitive architecture and software platform designed for humanoid general-purpose robots

Sanctuary AI rolls out the first general purpose robot
Sanctuary AI's Phoenix. Image via Sanctuary AI.

The world where artificial intelligence and robots take the place of human workers just got a little closer as Vancouver-based company unleashes first robot worker prototype.

Vancouver-based robotics and artificial intelligence company, Sanctuary AI, revealed its sixth-generation general purpose robot called Phoenix on Tuesday.

Phoenix is a humanoid general-purpose robot and operates on the Carbon AI control system, which aims to imbue Phoenix with human-like intelligence, empowering it to undertake a diverse array of tasks.

By doing so, it aims to address labour challenges, such as labour shortages, for many organizations today. Sanctuary has successfully demonstrated the capability of its technology to accomplish hundreds of tasks as identified by customers across more than a dozen industries.

“We designed Phoenix to be the most sensor-rich and physically capable humanoid ever built and to enable Carbon’s rapidly growing intelligence to perform the broadest set of work tasks possible,” said Geordie Rose, co-founder and CEO, Sanctuary AI.

“We see a future where general-purpose robots are as ubiquitous as cars, helping people to do work that needs doing, in cases where there simply aren’t enough people to do that work.”

The humanoid robot features a human-like form and function, measuring at a height of 170 centimetres and weighing 70.3 kilograms. It showcases a maximum payload capacity of 25 kilograms and can attain a top speed of 4.8 kilometres per hour.

Its robotic hands are equipped with 20 degrees of freedom of movement, providing dexterity and manipulation comparable to that of a human hand. The incorporation of proprietary haptic technology allows the robot to replicate the sense of touch. In addition to its advanced capabilities, the robot features an improved aesthetic appeal with a vibrant colour palette and enhanced textures, elevating its overall visual appeal.

Phoenix utilizes a comprehensive cognitive architecture and software platform specifically designed for humanoid general-purpose robots. This advanced system seamlessly integrates modern AI technologies to effectively translate natural language into actionable commands, enabling Phoenix to think and act in a manner similar to a human being.

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Sanctuary AI combines symbolic and logical reasoning

The architecture encompasses reasoning, task, and motion plans, ensuring transparency and accountability in the robot’s decision-making processes. It combines symbolic and logical reasoning with state-of-the-art Language Models (LLMs) for broad general knowledge, as well as domain-specific integrations and extensions. Phoenix exhibits agency and goal-seeking behaviours, employing Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning techniques to enhance its performance.  Deep Learning involves training artificial neural networks with multiple layers to extract patterns from data, while Reinforcement Learning enables agents to learn optimal strategies through trial and error.

The robot’s training is facilitated by photo-realistic and physics-realistic world simulations, providing a realistic environment for its learning process. Additionally, the system supports human-in-the-loop supervision,  remote operation, and fleet management, enabling efficient oversight and control of multiple robots.

This combination of cutting-edge technologies and human involvement ensures the optimization of Phoenix’s capabilities, making it a versatile and adaptable asset for various applications and industries.

The “thinking” general purpose robot. Image from Sanctuary AI.

What distinguishes Sanctuary AI from its counterparts in the industry is its literal interpretation of being “general-purpose” and its strong focus on developing technology that can perform physical tasks akin to a human being.

According to Rose, a general-purpose robot should have the capability to carry out a wide range of work tasks in a manner that mirrors human behaviour within the specific work environment.

While it may be tempting to solely focus on the physical attributes of a robot, Sanctuary AI emphasizes its proprietary AI control system, referred to as the robot’s Carbon-based mind.

Sanctuary AI announced that it intends on a commercial launch in March. Concurrently, the company revealed its commitment to an open and collaborative approach in constructing a new AI and robotics ecosystem, arranging partnerships with companies like Apptronik, Common Sense Machines, Contoro, Cycorp, Exonetik, HaptX, Magna, Tangible Research, Verizon Ventures and Workday Ventures.

Last spring, the company successfully concluded a series A funding round. Then in November, the company secured a $30 million Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) contribution from the Government of Canada, elevating Sanctuary AI’s total funding to surpass $100 million. As the company continues to pursue its mission, it remains actively engaged in its subsequent funding round.


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