1X: Supporting the World of Work with Robotics

Financially backed by the likes of OpenAI and EQT Ventures, 1X aims to transform the world of robotics to benefit society and meet the demand for labour

Robotics is rapidly changing the way that businesses consider operations in the workplace.

1X, an AI and robotics company, has been producing androids with this goal in mind, as it strives to benefit the world of work and humanity as a whole. The company has recently announced that it has raised US$100m in Series B funding with participation from global investors such as EQT Ventures.

With some key industries and companies like Amazon already producing and harnessing the power of android robots to improve efficiencies, these machines can offer extra support to the human workforces that need it.

A global enterprise demand for labour

1X is a company that intends to utilise its funding to market its second-generation android, NEO. Designed as a bipedal humanoid, meaning that it mimics the form of a human, NEO will be able to support 1X’s existing business clients when it comes to logistics and guarding. The company is keen to feature at the forefront of AI robotics, with 1X being able to offer an android robot that is safe to work alongside people.

Within key industries, humanoid robots hold great potential to be a valuable resource for businesses. They can offer capabilities such as completing tasks that would be dangerous or inefficient for human employees to complete, such as handling heavy loads or toxic substances. 

During an imbalance in the labour market, in addition to continued industry skill gaps, businesses are looking for new and improved ways to grow their workforces. Notably, the type of robot that 1X is offering could help prevent accidents and arguably save time and cost within the workplace. Often designed for professional service, robots can interact with customers, tools and are used for a variety of tasks such as maintenance and education.

1X also has a humanoid robot called EVE, which can perform a range of tasks and is equipped with cameras and sensors to perceive and interact with its surroundings. Like NEO, its dexterity allows it to navigate complex environments and manipulate objects effectively, which holds great potential for business operations.

However, what makes NEO stand out is its ability to also be tailored for everyday home assistance and can offer support for a wide range of domestic tasks.

Offering a hint of what the future of the robotics industry could look like, 1X’s overall goal is to produce androids that greatly benefit society, in addition to meeting the world's labour demand. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Norway, with a presence around the world.

“We are thrilled that these leading investors are supporting 1X’s mission of safely deploying Androids with Smart Behaviour into new markets. Our next milestone will be scaling our data collection strategy for Embodied AI and offering NEO to consumers,” says Bernt Øivind Børnich, CEO of 1X.

Rapid robotics expansion, backed by OpenAI

The latest 1X news comes in the wake of the company successfully completing a Series A funding round that was led by OpenAI and Tiger Global in March 2023. 1X has now raised more than US$125m in less than 12 months, allowing it to better produce safe and advanced androids at a commercial scale.

OpenAI’s interest signifies how AI is continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible. A robot with a humanoid form is just the beginning of how AI and robotics can work in tandem to support global businesses. 

“From Leonardo da Vinci, to today’s sci-fi, humans have dreamt of humanoid robots for more than 500 years. It’s a privilege to witness the enabling technologies form in front of our eyes, in real time, says Ted Persson, Partner at EQT Ventures.

“The impact of androids joining our human workforce, on our terms, will be transformative (to say the least). We’re convinced 1X with their NEO androids will play a crucial role in the pioneering steps towards the first forays of our technological and human future.”

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