8 Most Advanced AI-Powered Robots and What They Can Do 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

In this article we look at how 8 AI-powered robots are combining robotics and AI to create the next generation of autonomous assistants.

Artificial intelligence on its own is a potent force, but when combined with robotics, it has the potential to redefine how machines can interact with their environment. Eventually, AI-powered robots could conduct actions completely autonomously. 

While we are a long way from developing fully autonomous robots, a number of providers have begun developing highly realistic machines capable of emulating human movement and expression. 

At the same time, the market for these solutions is proliferating. According to Precedence Research, the global AI robotics market was valued at $12 billion in 2022 and will reach a value of $83.78 billion by 2032. 

Below, we’re going to look at some of the most advanced AI-powered robots in development and what they can do. 

8 Most Advanced AI-Powered Robots and What They Can Do

8. Sophia

Sophia is a “hybrid human AI intelligence,” released by Hanson Robotics in 2016, and is one of the most famous AI-powered robots in the world. Sophia can walk, talk, and uniquely respond to any situation or interaction with scripted or autonomous AI-generated responses. 

Through technologies like symbolic AI, neural networks, machine perception, and conversational natural language processing, Sophia can recognize human faces, emotions, and hand gestures while also roughly “simulating” human evolutionary psychology and emotion. 

Advertisements

Since its release, it has gathered significant public interest, speaking at hundreds of conferences and public events across the globe, becoming the first global robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. 

7. Atlas

Atlas, released by BostonDynamics in July 201, is perhaps the most dynamic bipedal robot in the world. Through the use of AI, Atlas can perceive its environment in real-time, navigating through obstacles with a high level of mobility as if it’s practicing parkour. 

The robot was initially developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge. This competition aimed to accelerate the development of robots that might be able to assist in responding to natural or man-made disasters. 

This robot uses a high-power custom battery and hydraulic systems to power its movement, while advanced control algorithms help it plan its movements. The original model was 6’2 and weighed 330 pounds. 

6. Phoenix

Phoenix is a general-purpose robot created by Sanctuary AI and announced in May 2023. Phoenix is powered by the Carob AI control system, a cognitive architecture and software platform that can be used to translate natural language input into real-world actions.

It also helps the robot to mimic the human brain and processes like memory, sight, sound, and touch to emulate human intelligence.

Phoenix also has full body mobility and human-like hands with 20 degrees of freedom. This gives it the ability to replicate human movement and dexterity at the hand level. 

So far, the robot can pick up, place, sort, and stack objects. Examples shared by Sanctuary AI include sorting auto parts, scanning items, soldering, placing things in a plastic bag, and serving food

This 6th-generation robot is 5 ft 7 inches high, weighs 155 pounds, features human-like full-body mobility, and can carry a payload of up to 55 pounds.

5. Ameca

Ameca is a human robot developed by Engineered Arts and released in 2022. The vendor claims it is “the world’s most advanced human-shaped robot.” This humanoid-inspired robot is designed to replicate natural motion and facial expression, although it can’t currently walk. 

It features a modular design with a binocular eye-mounted camera, which it can use to detect and track faces. This allows it to recognize an individual’s gender, emotion, and age. 

In addition, using a silicon face also allows it to emulate a wide range of human emotions, including contentment, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, anger, fear, confusion, thought, joy, sneering, and worry. 

It is worth noting that Ameca is primarily designed as a platform for developing AI around human-robot interactions. For instance, AI and machine learning systems developed in programming languages like Python to create new interaction and behavioral capabilities on Ameca via the Tritium robot operating system. 

A single robot costs more than $133,000. 

4. Nadine

Nadine is an AI-powered female humanoid robot released by Rokoro in 2013. Nadine’s likeness is modeled on Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, a computer scientist, robotician, founder, and director of MIRALab at the University of Geneva. 

This robot is notable due to its life-like appearance, with highly detailed skin and hair. It features a Microsoft Kinect V2 and microphone, which supports face and gesture recognition, and a robot controller to express emotions and enable lip synchronization. 

It can interact with and greet other individuals, make eye contact, and answer questions in multiple languages. She can also simulate human emotions and gestures and remember people whom she has the past. 

The bot has also worked as a customer service agent between 2018 and 2019 for AIA Singapore (an insurance company) and in Brighthill, a Singapore elderly home, from 2019 to 2020. 

3. RoboThespian

RoboThespian is a humanoid robot developed by Engineered Arts capable of emulating human movement, including automated eye contact and microfacial activities. Users can also create a library of speech, song, and movement routines for RoboThespian to act out (there is also a library of pre-installed content). 

The robot’s design features LCD eye screens, a built-in head camera, LED face, body lighting, a motorized track system, and active legs. Like Ameca, RoboThespian uses the Tritium operating system, which can be operated or customized through a web browser and programmed in any language. 

Engineered Arts’ telepresence software, TinMan, lets the user control RoboThespian remotely. 

RoboThespian can be purchased for around $90,000. These robots are designed to function as display attractions in public spaces, including trade shows, live panels, theaters, science parks, or TV shows. 

2. Optimus

Optimus, or the Tesla Bot, is Tesla’s general purpose, bi-pedal humanoid AI-powered robot unveiled in 2021 that’s currently under development to perform “tasks that are unsafe, repetitive or boring.” 

The Tesla Bot uses multiple sensors to perceive its surroundings, which enables it to navigate its environment alongside a visual navigation system and neural networks. It also has a library of natural motions to imitate human movement. 

A complex neural network also enables Optimus to move its body into poses (such as balancing on one leg) and to pick up and sort objects.  

While Optimus is not as advanced as Sophia or Atlas, its capabilities are growing fast, with The Sun reporting that eventually, the Tesla bot will be able to forward walk, squat, squat walk, side step, turn, lift objects from the ground to eye level, climb stairs, use a drill, push and pull objects, and use a screwdriver.

1. Apollo

Apollo is a general-purpose humanoid robot developed by Apptronik, announced in August 2023. Apollo was initially designed to operate in warehouse and manufacturing environments but will eventually expand into other areas like retail, construction, and elderly care. 

Advertised use cases for Apollo include trailer unloading, case picking, palletization, machine tending, and work cell delivery. 

The robot features a modular design so it can be mounted on a platform or given a fully mobile leg, and it features LEDs in its head, mouth, and chest. It stands at 5 foot 8, weighs 160 pounds, and can carry a maximum payload of 55 pounds. It also features a battery with a four-hour runtime. 

One exciting characteristic of Apollo is its force control architecture, which means it can stop what it’s doing if it detects moving objects in its immediate vicinity. 

The Bottom Line 

Each of these robots detailed above demonstrates how AI-powered robots are coming together and laying the framework for future generations of autonomous assistants. 

Although these solutions are in their infancy, industry leaders like Hanson Robotics, Boston Dynamics, and Engineered Arts are steadily pushing the envelope with what’s possible. 

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we could see artificial general intelligence (AGI) combined with advanced robotics to develop machines that can navigate their environments independently. 

Advertisements

Related Reading

Related Terms

Advertisements
Tim Keary

Since January 2017, Tim Keary has been a freelance technology writer and reporter, covering enterprise technology and information security.