Why it matters: Labor-saving robots with dexterous fingers and a human appearance are expected to reshape the workforce in various fields, from eldercare and food prep to manufacturing and heavy industry.
- The trick is to get them to walk without falling, hold a charge long enough to be useful, and manipulate things without fumbling.
- The brass ring? Housework — because who doesn’t want a robot to do the dishes and the laundry?
- Apollo is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and can lift 55 pounds.(See a video of the bot in action.)
- “Science fiction has promised us these for a long time,” Apptronik CEO Jeff Cardenas tells Axios
Driving the news: Apollo, which can run for four hours before its battery needs to be swapped, is one of several first-generation robots designed for live action in the workplace.
- “Initially, it’s going to start working in the supply chain — doing basic material handling tasks, moving boxes and totes,” Cardenas says.
- This version “has initial applications, but it’s a software update away from a new feature or functionality,” he adds. “Long term, really the sky’s the limit in terms of what these types of systems will be able to do.”
Where it stands: Apptronik — which won’t name its customers yet — has only pumped out a handful of production prototypes, but says Apollo is suited for “mass manufacturability.”
- “Right now we have two Apollos that are built, and we’re building another four,” Cardenas said. “These are the alpha units … our engineering validation prototypes.”
- The next step will be producing beta units — fewer than 100 — which will work outside the lab, Cardenas said. “From there, we move into full production, by the end of 2024.”