Covariant, a U.S based start-up creating “universal AI” for robotic manipulation has secured US$80m (£57.4) in Series C funding, which will be used to grow its team.
Formed at the University of California, Berkeley, the company has been developing the Covariant Brain, which it described as a “universal AI that enables robots to see, reason, and act autonomously in the real world.”
The company is focusing on giving robots the ability to manipulate objects they have not seen before and to operate in new environments.
“As of today, the Covariant Brain is powering a wide range of industrial robots to manage order picking, putwall, sorter induction – all for companies in various industries with drastically different types of products to manipulate,” said Covariant, CEO, Peter Chen.
“The breadth of use demonstrates the Covariant Brain can help robots of different types to manipulate new objects they’ve never seen before in environments where they’ve never operated.”
The latest funding round was led by existing investor Index Ventures and features Amplify Partners, Radical Ventures, CPPIB and Temasek. It brings the Berkeley spin out’s total funding to US$147m (£105.6m). Existing customers include ABB, Bastian, Knapp and Obeta.
“We are at a point where modern AI is opening up a whole new generation of robotic applications. Warehouses and distribution centres are where this transition is happening first, but I also see it as a sign of things to come elsewhere, for example, in the manufacturing, agriculture, and food industries,” added Peter Abbeel, Covariant’s president.