Ford unveiled today in a Medium post the introduction of a two-legged delivery robot named Digit that could give Boston Dynamics a run for their money. The novel machine is engineered in partnership with Agility Robotics, and it is meant to carry your packages to your door.
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A brand new frontier
"Ford is teaming up with Agility Robotics to explore a brand-new frontier in the world of autonomy — and a new way of thinking about how we make deliveries. Together, we will work toward making sure self-driving vehicles are uniquely outfitted to accomplish something that’s proven surprisingly difficult to do: Carry out that final step of getting your delivery from the car to your door," writes Ford CTO Ken Washington in the Medium post.
The rest of the post is dedicated to explaining the efficiency benefits that Digit offers — no more waiting for your package or for someone to deliver it. All these processes will now be automated.
Digit, Ford claims, has been built not only to approximate the look of a human, but to walk like one, too. The robot is made out of lightweight material and looks supple but don't let that fool you.
It is still strong enough to lift packages that weigh up to 40 pounds. Digit can even walk everywhere humans can such as stairs and uneven terrain.
Better than humans
Perhaps better than humans, Digit can react swiftly to being bumped over and not lose its balance or lift itself up with its arms if it does fall. Digit has also been designed to fold itself up and fit neatly in the back of a delivery van.
Once at its destination, Digit can unfold to deliver the package. If you are wondering how it will know where to go, rest assured Ford thought of that too.
The robot engages in data sharing with the delivery vehicle.
"When a self-driving vehicle brings Digit to its final destination, the vehicle can wirelessly deliver all the information it needs, including the best pathway to the front door. Through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with a vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery," explains Washington.
Digit can even send pictures to the car if it encounters an unknown situation. The car can then send them to the cloud to request assistance.
Well there you go, Ford has thought off everything. We wonder how long it will be till we start seeing Digit delivering our packages.