Agility Robotics is launching Digit, a robot with arms and legs that is designed to work with humans and in human spaces, for commercial sale. Ford Motor Company is the first customer, receiving the first two robots off the line. Ford is already working with Agility to explore ways to help commercial vehicle customers, including autonomous vehicle businesses, make warehousing and delivery more efficient and affordable for their customers.
Key applications for further exploration are indoor or first-mile logistics and last-50-feet delivery. Ongoing research will focus on how Ford’s commercial vehicles and Digit “talk” to each other and their surroundings through advanced connectivity technologies.
The companies expect that, as Digit will be part of a package delivery service, this communication channel will also provide delivery-specific information such as where a customer prefers packages to be left, or other individual package delivery needs. This communication channel also allows Digit to ask for help if something unexpected is encountered.
“As online retailing continues growing, we believe robots will help our commercial customers build stronger businesses by making deliveries more efficient and affordable for all of us.” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, and Chief Technology Officer. “We learned a lot this year working with Agility, now we can accelerate our exploratory work with commercial Digit robots.”
Digit has been designed to walk upright without wasting energy, and to easily navigate the same types of environments most people do every day. Digit’s unique design also allows it to tightly fold itself up for easy storage in the back of a vehicle until it’s called into action. Once a vehicle arrives at its destination, Digit can be deployed to grab a package from the vehicle and carry out the final step in the delivery process.