Founders: Peter Chen, Pieter Abbeel, Rocky Duan, Tianhao Zhang

Founded: 2017

HQ: San Francisco, CA

Covariant is building the Covariant Brain, a universal AI to give robots the ability to see, reason and act on the world around them. Bringing practical AI Robotics into the physical world is hard. It involves giving robots a level of autonomy that requires breakthroughs in AI research. That’s why Covariant assembled a team that has published cutting-edge research papers at the top AI conferences and journals, with more than 50,000 collective citations. In addition to their research, they’ve also brought together a world-class engineering team to create new types of highly robust, reliable and performant cyber-physical systems.

Instead of learning to master specific tasks separately, Covariant robots learn general abilities such as robust 3D perception, physical affordances of objects, few-shot learning and real-time motion planning. This allows them to adapt to new tasks just like people do — by breaking down complex tasks into simple steps and applying general skills to complete them. In 2020, Covariant raised a $40 million Series B round from investors such as Index Ventures, Lux Capital and Baidu Ventures, bringing their total funding to $67 million. They’ve also developed partnerships with logistics and robotics companies such as Knapp Ag. and ABB, showcasing successful order pick rates at faster than human speeds.