OpenAI Invests $23.5 Million in 1X’s Humanoid Robot NEO; Direct competitor to Tesla Inc’s Optimus

By Sarnith Varun

March 31, 2023
1X’s Humanoid robot NEO. Credits: 1X tech

1X, known as Halodi Robotics earlier, is a robotics and engineering company from Norway, that produces humanoid robots capable of human-like movement and activities and currently has a team of about 60 employees.

OpenAI’s startup fund invested $23.5 million in a Series A2 funding round on the engineering company 1X, on 23rd March 2023.1

1X’s main product is its bipedal humanoid robot named NEO and intends to use the funds received to work effectively on NEO.

Another key product manufactured by 1X is EVE, a high-mobility robot attached with wheels as feet.

EVE’s ability to gently move, manipulate objects, and interact with the world makes it ideal for use in real-world applications.


This video demonstrates our hardware and motion AI’s natural dynamics and precision by running a preplanned sequence of motion and manipulation events. While our deployed products do not make any assumptions about the future state of the world, our system’s dynamics and precision greatly simplify the AI problem.

It uses a base level of training to move about our spaces, turning corners and opening doors using shared autonomy.

1X looks to utilize the fund by beginning to scale manufacturing of the first commercially available robot EVE in Norway and North America.

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The company aims to deploy the androids first in North America before marketing it globally to ensure safety and proper testing before global release. 

The robot could replace laborers involved in construction, manufacturing industries, etc and potentially solve the labor shortage crisis.

These androids are way more efficient and effective than human laborers as they do not require food, water, or rest, and cheaper than hiring laborers. 

Androids like EVE can also be deployed at homes once it proves to be safe for domestic use. 

“1X is thrilled to have OpenAI lead this round because we’re aligned in our missions: thoughtfully integrating emerging technology into people’s daily lives. With the support of our investors, we will continue to make significant strides in the field of robotics and augment the global labor market.”

Bernt Øyvind Børnich, CEO and founder of 1X Technologies.

Elon Musk’s Tesla, Inc also revealed their humanoid robot called Tesla Bot or Optimus at the company’s Artificial Intelligence Day event on August 19, 2021.

Recently, on 1 March 2023, Tesla, Inc’s Investor’s Day, Elon Musk showcased a walking demo of the Optimus robot.

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1X’s EVE and Optimus serve the same purpose and perform similar functions, although both companies haven’t shown any interest in collaboration, the potential rivalry could boost the advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Amid these crazy developments in the AI world, Elon Musk and other imminent signatories have signed an open letter calling to put a halt to training AI stronger than GPT-4 lately and experts demand an “International Panel on Technological Change (IPTC)” considering the rising potential threats and ethical risks of Artificial Intelligence.

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Sarnith Varun, ‘AI Poses Global Extinction Threat Comparable to Nuclear War, Say Sam Altman, Geoffrey Hinton, Lex Fridman…‘, Evincism, 31 May 2023

References

  1. Vignesh R, ‘OpenAI backs 1X Technologies in $23.5M funding to commercialise humanoid robotics’, Tech Funding News, 27 March 2023, “1X Technologies intends to use the funds to increase the efforts of building its upcoming bipedal android model — NEO, and scale manufacturing of its first”, https://techfundingnews.com/openai-backs-1x-technologies-in-23-5m-funding-to-commercialise-humanoid-robotics/[]
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