Figure 01 robot trains for its job at BMW plant

Robotics startup Figure has released a video clip showcasing its namesake humanoid robot getting ready for a job assembling cars at BMW’s plant in South Carolina.

The video shows the robot slowly but surely putting together a car part as it prepares for deployment at the German automaker’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg.

According to California-based Figure, the 01 is fully autonomous and relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out its tasks.

Thanks to its neural network programming, the robot is able to manipulate objects using both of its hands and learn on the job, including self-correcting any mistakes it makes.

Figure announced its agreement with BMW to deploy humanoid robots at the Spartanburg plant in January. The deal will “increase productivity, reduce costs, and create a safer and more consistent environment,” the company said at the time.

BMW stated it was responding to the “rapidly” evolving auto industry.

Car manufacturers around the world are increasingly turning to robots to carry out their production operations. Last year, South Korean carmaker Hyundai opened a robot-run facility in Singapore, where robots carry out 50% of all tasks.

Tesla is working on its own general purpose robot, unveiling the latest prototype, called Optimus Gen 2, in December, while China aims to start mass-producing humanoid robots by 2025.

The market of general purpose robots is expected to grow rapidly within the next decade with humanoid robots poised to perform diverse tasks ranging from warehouse work to retail and care.

The agreement with BMW was Figure’s first commercial agreement since its founding in 2022. The company was founded to work on the world’s first “commercially viable” autonomous humanoid robot.

Spartanburg plant is BMW’s largest and employs 11,000 people. It is also the largest automotive exporter in the US.