BMW’s South Carolina Plant Is Reportedly Testing Humanoid Robot Workers

BMW’s South Carolina plant is reportedly testing humanoid robot workers. The general-purpose robotics startup Figure is intended to automate dangerous or manufacturing tasks that are repetitive.

BMW’s Humanoid Robot Workers

BMW’s Humanoid Robot Workers

Robotics startup Figure has entered into a “commercial agreement” with BMW to deploy its “general-purpose” humanoid robots at BMW’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The aim is to assess potential use cases for automation in automotive production. The robots from Figure are designed to handle “difficult, unsafe, or tedious” manufacturing tasks. If proven effective, the deployment of these robots at the BMW facility will occur in stages. This collaboration reflects efforts to explore the integration of humanoid robots in automotive manufacturing to enhance efficiency and safety.

“Single-purpose robotics have saturated the commercial market for decades, but the potential of general purpose robotics is completely untapped,” Figure CEO Brett Adcock stated. “Figure’s robots will enable companies to increase productivity, reduce costs, and create a safer and more consistent environment.”

Other Car Manufacturers Involved In the Development of Walking Robots

Car manufacturers, including Honda and Hyundai, have been actively involved in the development of walking robots, and recent efforts are focused on integrating them into real-world applications. Tesla unveiled its second-generation Optimus robot in December, while Amazon is testing Agility Robotics’ “Digit” robot in its US warehouses.

In the case of BMW, its manufacturing facility in South Carolina, the company’s only US-based plant, assembles approximately 1,500 X-series and XM-series vehicles daily. The facility, with around 11,000 employees, is the largest automotive exporter in the US by value, with an export value of $9.6 billion.

The Collaboration between BMW and Figure

The collaboration between BMW and Figure, involving humanoid robots, does not specify the number of robots to be deployed or the specific tasks they will undertake. According to Reuters, the partnership will begin with “small quantities,” and deployment will depend on meeting performance targets. Training the robots for specific tasks could take anywhere from 12 to 24 months before they are fully integrated into BMW’s manufacturing processes, assuming a viable use case is identified.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here