1X, a Norway-based AI startup focusing on home robotics, has announced a substantial $100M Series B funding. This follows a noteworthy $23.5M Series A funding extension led by OpenAI in early 2023, showcasing the company’s rapid growth and the increasing interest in home robotics solutions.
From Science Fiction to Reality
1X’s journey began in 2014, initially known as Halodi Robotics. Their first android, EVE, featured wheels instead of legs and weighed 80kg. EVE has been actively involved in logistics and security, addressing global labor shortages. However, with the new android NEO, 1X is venturing into a more challenging domain – the domestic environment.
NEO, the next-generation android, is a lighter (30kg) and more sophisticated version of its predecessor, designed to navigate the unique challenges of a home setting. Unlike EVE, NEO has two legs, enabling it to access hard-to-reach areas, an essential feature for domestic tasks. The robot’s design focuses on safety, incorporating a soft layer over its aluminum core and avoiding risks like lifting heavy objects near people.
OpenAI and NVIDIA as Catalysts for 1X’s Growth
OpenAI, known for developing ChatGPT, and NVIDIA, a leader in high-performance GPUs, have been instrumental in 1X’s development. OpenAI’s involvement began in the summer of 2022, before ChatGPT’s release. This partnership provided 1X with critical validation and access to advanced AI technologies and networks. NVIDIA, on the other hand, has contributed significantly with its software, enabling 1X to scale its AI applications for NEO.
A Blend of Human Expertise and AI
1X’s approach to training NEO involves cloning human behavior and thought processes into the machine, akin to training large language models (LLMs). This process involves human operators using VR headsets to control the robot, thereby transferring human actions and thoughts into the robot’s system. The goal is to develop AI models with a rich understanding of the world, crucial for the diverse and unpredictable nature of home environments.
The Future of Home Robotics
The recent $100M Series B funding, led by EQT Ventures and including significant contributions from other investors like Samsung Next, is aimed at mass-producing NEO. While the exact pricing of NEO is yet to be revealed, 1X’s CEO assures that it will be competitively priced compared to existing systems in the market.
1X’s vision extends beyond just creating a household robot; it aims to solve complex AI challenges by leveraging the vast and varied data available in home settings. With over 50 robots already operational and gathering data, 1X is poised to make a significant impact in the world of home robotics, potentially changing the way we view and interact with robots in our daily lives.
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