It’s interesting how robotics has evolved from every corner being very bespoke and taking on a very different set of expertise and skills. To a large extent, the journey we’re on is to try and make general-purpose robotics happen, whether it’s applied to an industrial setting or more of a home setting. The principles behind it, driven by a very strong AI core, are very similar. We’re really pushing the envelope in trying to explore how we can support as broad an application space as possible. That’s new and exciting. It’s very greenfield. There’s lots to explore in the space.
I like to ask people how far off they think we are from something we can reasonably call general-purpose robotics.
There is a slight nuance with the definition of general-purpose robotics. We’re really focused on general-purpose methods. Some methods can be applied to both industrial or home robots or sidewalk robots, with all of those different embodiments and form factors. We’re not predicated on there being a general-purpose embodiment that does everything for you, more than if you have an embodiment that is very bespoke for your problem. It’s fine. We can quickly fine-tune it into solving the problem that you have, specifically. So this is a big question: Will general-purpose robots happen? That’s something a lot of people are tossing around hypotheses about, if and when it will happen.
Thus far there’s been more success with bespoke robots. I think, to some extent, the technology has not been there to enable more general-purpose robots to happen.