March 2, 2022
Vancouver-based Sanctuary Cognitive Systems, which is focusing on creating human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots, has announced closing $58.5 million ($75.5 million Canadian) in Series A funding. Using breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, cognition and robotics, the company plans to improve the quality of the work experience, assist humans with difficult or dangerous tasks, and bring new opportunities to those who might be less capable of physical work.
The company said many companies are developing special-purpose robots and AI to address singular tasks or activities. In contrast, Sanctuary is taking a more general-purpose approach to their hardware and software, drawing from AI, cognition, computer vision, machine learning, theoretical physics and quantum computing fields. Sanctuary said its general-purpose robots are similar to people in sizes and shapes “because the world is designed for people.” The robot’s cognitive architecture is also designed to mimic the different subsystems in a person’s brain. This approach “defines the scope of the work to something that can be broken down into manageable and achievable pieces,” the company adds.
“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,” said Geordie Rose, the co-founder and CEO of Sanctuary. “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.”
Investors in the Series A round include Bell, Evok Innovations, Export Development Canada, Magna, SE Health, Verizon Ventures, and Workday Ventures.
“Our investment in Sanctuary is in complete alignment with our mission at Evok Innovations to protect the environment and strengthen the economy,” said Marty Reed, partner at Evok Innovations. “We believe that Sanctuary has the fastest, lowest-cost and most commercially viable path to building human-like intelligence in machines. It’s been exciting to participate in this funding round, and I look forward to what’s in store for the future.”
To learn more about the company and its technology, visit the Sanctuary website here.