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article imageFord Motors unveils 'Digit,' a home-delivery robot

By Karen Graham     May 25, 2019 in Technology
Ford Motor Co. said on Wednesday it was partnering with walking robots maker Agility Robotics as it designs a planned fleet of self-driving delivery vans that will drop packages at the doorsteps of people’s homes.
Albany, Oregon-based Agility Robotics was founded in late 2015 as a spinoff of Oregon State University. The culmination of the company's work in bi-pedal robotics is "Digit," their second robot - the successor to the "Cassie" design used successfully in research laboratories starting in 2017.
Agility Robotics has partnered with Ford Motor Company to develop a last-mile logistics solution that combines Ford’s autonomous vehicle technology and Agility’s bipedal robot Digit, according to a press release.
The whole point of the partnership is to make the robot and vehicle communicate with each other. The vehicle would then be able to share delivery details and mapped pathways with the robot, according to CTV News.
Cassie is Ability Robotic s first robot.
Cassie is Ability Robotic's first robot.
Agility Robotics
Digit is a foldable delivery robot with two arms and a pair of "ostrich-like legs." Digit is equipped with cameras and a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor as well as an AI platform.
Digit can pick up and stack boxes weighing up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms). Digit can climb steps and navigate around objects in its path. The robot is also agile enough that it can catch itself during a fall by using its arms to decelerate.
As for uneven terrain - no problem for this robot delivery machine. Even if Digit is bumped, it will remain upright. Ford said it's testing Digit to carry packages from its self-driving vans to customers' homes. Digit will be the passenger in Ford’s self-driving vans also currently being tested.
Digit is a two-legged robot designed and built by Agility Robotics to not only approximate the look ...
Digit is a two-legged robot designed and built by Agility Robotics to not only approximate the look of a human, but to walk like one, too.
Ford Motors, Media
“Digit has a lot to learn about the real world,” said Dr. Jonathan Hurst, CTO of Agility, “but we’re building on a successful 10-year history of dynamic walking and running robots, and this partnership will allow us to leverage Ford’s research in areas such as mapping and object recognition. After all, a stop sign looks the same whether you’re a biped or a car.”
“It’s not always convenient for people to leave their homes to retrieve deliveries,” Ken Washington, Ford’s chief technology officer, said, according to Reuters. “If we can free people up to focus less on the logistics of making deliveries, they can turn their time and effort to things that really need their attention.”
More about Ford Motors, digit, homedeliveryn robot, selfdriving vehicle, The Future
 
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