BMW Partners with Figure AI to Introduce Humanoid Robots in Spartanburg Plant

Humanoid Robot (

Innovative Collaboration Aims to Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency in South Carolina

BMW Manufacturing’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina is set to pioneer a new era in automobile production by incorporating humanoid robots into its assembly process. The groundbreaking initiative stems from a partnership with Figure AI, a startup established in 2022. While the exact number of robots to be employed remains undisclosed, Figure AI’s CEO, Brett Adcock, assures a phased deployment, starting with small quantities and scaling up based on performance metrics.

The humanoid robots, designed by Figure AI, are slated to play crucial roles in the plant’s body shop, sheet metal department, and warehouse for the initial 12-24 months. Following this period, the robots will undergo specialized training to handle specific tasks. Emphasizing safety, Adcock states that the robots are engineered to work alongside humans without posing any risks. The collaboration with BMW on this automation venture is seen as a significant validation for Figure AI in the automation space.

The humanoid robot, standing at 5’6″ and weighing 60 kilograms (132 lbs), boasts a payload capacity of 44 lbs and a runtime of five hours. The decision to introduce such technology aligns with BMW’s commitment to innovation and efficiency in its manufacturing processes.

Spartanburg’s BMW plant, covering eight million square feet with over 11,000 employees, is a cornerstone for the production of various crossovers and SUVs, including the BMW X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, and XM. As the largest automotive exporter in the United States by value, the plant annually ships nearly $9.6 billion worth of products worldwide.

While the use of humanoid robots in manufacturing poses potential risks, BMW and Figure AI are optimistic about the positive impact on efficiency and speed. The collaboration represents a bold step toward embracing cutting-edge technology to elevate the automotive production landscape. Only time will reveal the outcomes, but the venture holds the potential to reshape industry practices.