Intrinsic + Vicarious

The Vicarious business has been acquired by Intrinsic, a robotics software and AI company at Alphabet. Learn more about our shared mission here.

Introducing Vicarious: AI for the Robot Age

Every interesting startup exists to make a prediction about the future come true. Our prediction: in fifteen years, robots will be as commonplace and easy to use as mobile phones.

Posted March 2020 Back to Resources

AI for the Robot Age

Trillions of dollars are spent annually on human labor for repetitive manual tasks. Existing robotic automation is too brittle and too costly to deploy in dynamic production environments. Global trends like shorter product lifespans, frequent changeovers, direct-to-consumer, and near-to-market manufacturing, and rising labor costs are all intensifying the need for intelligent, flexible robotics. Despite the availability of inexpensive robots, very few companies use robots for manual tasks. Vicarious spent the last decade building the missing ingredient: a general intelligence layer that imbues robots with human-like dexterity and adaptability to new tasks.


We founded Vicarious to build the first artificial general intelligence. Along the way, we raised over $150M from Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Vinod Khosla, and many others. We’ve also shared many of our discoveries in peer-reviewed venues like Science, Science Robotics, AAAI, NeurIPS, and others. Today we’re excited to announce that the first robot lines using our technology are live, serving multiple companies in North America.


What’s Special About Vicarious? Our Technology.

Because most robots currently require a lot of human effort and expertise to program, automation is generally only applied to tasks that rarely change, like welding the body of a car or packing objects in boxes for E-commerce. We’ve built an AI layer that lets new apps be created easily and quickly. For example, we’ve built applications for packaging dog toys and makeup, assembling circuit board components, stacking boxes on pallets, sorting objects from conveyors into bins, and tending large metalworking machines all using the same Vicarious AI library. Our AI layer makes it easy to arrange commands like “Pick up an object from a conveyor” and “Insert into a fixture” to build complex multi-robot workflows that are robust to changes in lighting, packaging, types of objects being manipulated, robots, cameras, and grippers.

What’s Special About Vicarious? Our Business Model.

The average industrial robot is priced for a lifespan of 17.5 years when working 16-hour days, 6 days a week. Most manufacturers change their products every year or every season and can’t justify the cost of a long-term robot. Vicarious offers short-term subscription robots to fill this need, enabling manufacturers and contract packagers to install entire robot lines and only pay by the number of parts produced.  

What’s Next?

Vicarious is the first and only AI-powered full-service robotic integrator for the enterprise. We sell and operate fully functional robotic lines, and we provide continuous service so that enterprise employees can be as hands-off or as hands-on as desired. We’ve helped Pitney Bowes and Sephora with mission-critical work, we’re happy to begin welcoming other customers today.

If you’re interested in automating, we should talk!