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Humanoid Robots and the AI That Drives Them

A look at the powerful AI behind the robot that allows it to move, think, and act like us.

Humanoid robots, also referred to as general-purpose robots, use AI to perform the tasks they’re given to do.
Humanoid robots, also referred to as general-purpose robots, use AI to perform the tasks they’re given to do.
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Humanoid robots, also referred to as general-purpose robots, use AI to perform the tasks they’re given to do. If you missed the feature we did on these robots, click here. By now you know that humanoid robots are not just a thing of the future. In fact, you’ve likely seen videos of how they are currently being used in manufacturing and retail and could very well be deployed soon on the packaging line. But do you know what drives them? What makes them effective, and what technology enables them to “think” and move like humans? It’s none other than artificial intelligence (AI).

With a combination of advanced computer vision and machine learning, the robot can navigate complex environments and perform tasks like climbing stairs and grasping objects. The powerful machine learning program allows the humanoids to apply new experiences to known information, in effect learning new experiences. and 'learn' how to take this information and its own experiences into account for future actions. It’s this ability that lets the robot reason, draw conclusions, and ultimately, make decisions.

As the humanoid robots move around their environment, the AI is what allows the robot to capture information through cameras and LiDAR sensors, analyze that data, make inferences, and then move or act to the desired outcome. Its these sophisticated tasks that allow the humanoid to resemble humans in their thinking.

As CEO & co-founder of Sanctuary AI, the robotics company that created humanoid Phoenix, Geordie Rose has said, “general-purpose robots must be able to sense, understand, and act in the world the same way we do.” And to do that, they require AI.

“While we're immensely proud of our physical robot, the real star of the show is the underlying software. Carbon is our pioneering and unique AI control system, designed to give Phoenix human-like intelligence and enable it to do a wide range of work to help address the labor challenges affecting many organizations today. It is a cognitive platform that provides Phoenix with the ability to think and then act to complete work tasks just like a person. Integrating modern AI technologies to translate natural language into action in the real world, Carbon features reasoning, task, and motion plans that are both explainable and auditable,” says Rose.

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