Robotics startup Figure has scored a major partnership with auto giant BMW to deploy its human-like robots on the manufacturer’s US assembly lines. The deal marks significant progress for Figure, validating its humanoid approach and paving the way for wider adoption.
Under the agreement, Figure’s dexterous bots will be integrated into BMW’s massive Spartanburg, SC facility over the next two years. They will be trained to execute specific tasks in body construction, sheet metal fabrication, warehousing, and other areas alongside human workers.
The humanoid robots can dynamically move and adjust like humans, allowing them to handle a variety of physical jobs. Their versatility gives them advantages over traditional rigid industrial robots specialized for single tasks. By starting with small deployments and expanding if targets are met, BMW can precisely evaluate benefits.
For Figure, the partnership represents its first commercial deployment since the startup’s founding in 2022. It demonstrates the progress of Figure’s humanoids from R&D to real-world application. The company has focused intensely on safety to enable seamless human-robot collaboration.
Tesla founder Elon Musk forecasts massive scales of human-like bots by the 2040s, Tesla Optimus Gen 2 humanoid robot more dexterous movement, advanced bot sports a bevy of sensors, actuators, and redesigned components that enable more nimble mobility.
The flexible, multi-purpose nature of Figure’s robots differentiates them from task-built machines. But it’s still unclear if their versatility will prove more efficient than specialized automation. The BMW pilot will provide real-world data on their viability and room for improvement.
By bringing its futuristic bots into a flagship plant, BMW is ensuring it stays ahead in automation. For Figure, it represents a giant leap from R&D to large-scale commercial use. The partnership puts innovative humanoid robots to the test in a pioneering deployment that could shape automation.