Known as the “Home of the X,” Plant Spartanburg builds all BMW SUVs from the X3 through the X7, including the newcomer XM. An intriguing change is underway at the factory in South Carolina, where humanoid robots will soon be deployed. The luxury automaker has entered into a deal with the California-based startup Figure to implement multi-purpose robotics solutions.

Dubbed Figure 01, the “world’s first commercially viable autonomous humanoid robot” will be deployed in automotive production. In the initial phase, BMW and Figure will identify where its functionality could be useful. Subsequently, it will undergo staged deployment at the factory. Initially, only a few of these robots will be used, but the quantity could increase if everything goes according to plan and the targets are met.

Brett Adcock, the founder and CEO of Figure, claims that a humanoid robot not only increases productivity and lowers manufacturing costs but also creates a safer environment. In an interview with Reuters, he stated, “We have designed the robot to be safe when working alongside humans.” It’s worth noting BMW is Figure’s first commercial partner since the company was founded in 2022.

The electric Figure 01 stands at 5’6” (167 centimeters) tall and weighs 132 pounds (60 kilograms), with a maximum payload capacity of 44 lbs (20 kg) and a runtime of up to five hours. It can move at a speed of 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) per second. Its primary role is to “reduce the number of workers in unsafe jobs” and provide a solution in areas facing significant labor shortages.

BMW Plant Spartanburg stands as the largest factory in the company’s network, boasting a maximum annual capacity of 450,000 vehicles and employing over 11,000 people that can produce 1,500 vehicles each day. Since its inception in 1994, the plant has assembled more than 6.4 million vehicles. The production journey began with the rollout of the first car, a 3 Series (E36) in the 318i specification.

Source: Figure, Reuters