Sanctuary AI closes CAD $75.5M Series A round to accelerate its human-like robots
The Vancouver-based company's massive raise furthers its mission to address labour shortages and strengthen the global economy.
If you get a bit skittish about science fiction scenarios in which robots become sentient and slowly take over the world…well, you might want to stop reading right now.
Okay, that’s probably not fair to Sanctuary AI, the Vancouver-based company that aims to create human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots.
After all, there is no evidence that Sanctuary and its robots are going to pull a Blade Runner. In fact, the company aims to address labour shortages around the world and strengthen the global economy.
To that end, the company has closed an oversubscribed CAD $75.5 million (USD $58.5 million) Series A fundraising round to advance its technology. Investors in the round include Bell, Evok Innovations, Export Development Canada, Magna, SE Health, Verizon Ventures, and Workday Ventures.
Why it matters: Using breakthrough technology in AI, cognition, and robotics, Sanctuary says it will “improve the quality of the work experience, assist humans with difficult or dangerous tasks, create new jobs, bring new opportunities to those who might be less capable of physical work, and reduce the impact of labour shortages around the world.”
While many companies around the world are developing special-purpose robots and AI to address singular tasks or activities, Sanctuary, founded in 2018 by Geordie Rose, Suzanne Gildert, Olivia Norton and Ajay Agrawal, is taking a more general approach.
Its robots are similar to a person in size and shape, because, as the company explains, “the world is designed for people.” The robot's cognitive architecture is also designed to mimic the different subsystems in a person's brain.
Other details: Sanctuary also announced that the first female private space explorer, Anousheh Ansari, and former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, joined the Sanctuary Advisory Board.
What’s next: Though Sanctuary’s main goal is the advancing of its robots, the appointments of Ansari and Hadfield serve a much larger objective. “In the not-too-distant future, Sanctuary technology will help people explore, settle, and prosper in outer space,” the company said in a release. “But first, Sanctuary robots will train alongside people here on Earth, helping them work more safely, efficiently, and sustainably.”
Not scary at all. Right?
Subscribe to our Sunday Briefing for more stories on the B.C.-based companies turning science fiction into reality.