Sanctuary AI Announces Microsoft Collaboration to Accelerate AI Development for General Purpose Robots

Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 1, 2024:  Sanctuary AI, a company on a mission to create the world's first human-like intelligence in general purpose robots, is collaborating with Microsoft on the development of AI models for general purpose humanoid robots, including Sanctuary AI’s Phoenix. Sanctuary AI and Microsoft will work together to bolster AI research and development and Sanctuary AI will leverage Microsoft’s Azure cloud resources for their AI workloads.

Building on the foundation of Large Language Models (LLMs), Sanctuary AI is making progress towards "Large Behavior Models" (LBMs) that ground AI in the physical world by enabling systems to understand and learn from real world experience. Sanctuary AI is taking advantage of these models for Carbon, the AI control system for its Phoenix robots. Carbon is designed to enable the robot it controls to do complex tasks, due to its foundation of high quality behavioral data. Sanctuary AI will take advantage of Microsoft Azure infrastructure for training, inference, networking, and storage. 

“Creating systems that think like, and understand us, is one of the biggest civilization-level technical problems and opportunities that we will ever face,” said Geordie Rose, CEO and Co-founder of Sanctuary AI. “A challenge like this requires the best global minds to work together. We’re excited to be working with Microsoft to unlock the next generation of AI models that will power-general purpose robots.” 

Sanctuary AI brings deep technical expertise to the collaboration. The Sanctuary AI leadership team includes founders of D-Wave, the world's first commercial supplier of quantum computers, Kindred AI, the first company to use reinforcement learning in a production robot, and Softbank Robotics. Sanctuary AI was also the first company to deploy humanoid general-purpose robots in a commercial setting in early 2023. The robots were deployed in conjunction with one of the largest retailers in Canada, working both front-of-house and on logistics and warehouse-style tasks. The dexterous capabilities of Sanctuary AI’s robots have been tested across 400 customer-defined tasks across 15 different industries, with a focus on automotive, manufacturing, and logistics. 

The collaboration announcement builds on the work the companies have done together to help unlock remote physical work. Sanctuary AI has several breakthroughs in the AI and robotics industries and notably has built industry leading robotic hands with a broad set of precision, tactile, and payload capabilities. It also takes a considered and responsible approach to development. The name ‘Sanctuary’ represents, in part, a controlled, secure environment to develop AI prior to commercial deployment.

"We're excited to be working with Sanctuary AI to accelerate AI model innovation and embodied AI research in areas like reasoning, planning, and human-agent collaboration," says Ashley Llorens Corporate Vice President and Managing Director, Microsoft Research. "Through our collaboration, Sanctuary AI will have access to Microsoft Azure infrastructure and services as they explore the future of general-purpose robots that can assist across various use cases and industries." 



About Sanctuary AI

Founded in 2018, Sanctuary AI is a multi-award-winning company based in Vancouver, Canada. Sanctuary AI is on a mission to create the world's first human-like intelligence in general purpose robots that will help us work more safely, efficiently, and sustainably, helping to address the labor challenges facing many organizations today. Sanctuary AI's growing list of customers and investors represents a wide variety of industries across Canada, the US, and other countries around the world.

Members of the Sanctuary team founded D-Wave (a pioneer in the quantum computing industry), Kindred (first use of reinforcement learning in a production robot), and the Creative Destruction Lab (pioneered a revolutionary method for the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind). With experience at startups and technology leaders such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Softbank Robotics, the team has experience launching market-defining innovations rooted in previously unsolved and deep scientific problems.