Listen to this article
Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporation, a company working to develop human-like intelligence in general purpose robots, announced it raised $58.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding.
Bell, Evok Innovations, Export Development Canada, Magna, SE Health, Verizon Ventures and Workday Ventures contributed to the funding round.
“At Verizon Ventures, we believe that breakthrough ideas need extraordinary support and execution,” Michelle McCarthy, managing director of Verizon Ventures, said. “Sanctuary’s novel approach and progress set them apart, as they look to build transformative innovations of tomorrow with the potential to reshape the future of work.”
While many companies are developing robots and artificial intelligence (AI) for specific purposes, Sanctuary is trying to create a general-purpose robot with human-like intelligence. The cognitive architecture of Sanctuary’s humanoid robots was created to mimic the subsystems in a person’s brain. According to the company, this breaks down the challenges of developing the system into smaller, more manageable pieces.
“With unfilled vacancies, workplace safety considerations, increasing employee turnover, worldwide aging populations, and declining workplace participation, one thing is clear: many labor-related challenges are outside the scope of current specialized AI and robotics technology,” Geordie Rose, co-founder and CEO of Sanctuary, said. “We are addressing a systemic problem across the global economy. I am excited about the group of industry partners and investors we assembled. With interest from customers representing a dozen different industry verticals, we are working hard to make work safer, more accessible, and ultimately more productive.”
Sanctuary was founded in 2018 by Rose, Suzanne Gildert, Olivia Norton and Ajay Agrawal. The company is based in Vancouver, Canada. The company hopes that its robots can be used to close labor shortages, as well as eventually help people explore, settle and prosper in outer space.
Along with the funding, Sanctuary announced that Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, and Chris Hadfield, former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, will be joining the Sanctuary Advisory Board.