Agility Robotics and Ford team up to further develop humanoid delivery robots

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Robot developer Agility Robotics has officially launched a new humanoid robot, which has been developed to make warehousing and delivery more efficient.

The robot, called Digit, has arms and legs and has been designed to work with humans and in human spaces. As part of the launch, Agility also announced that it will continue to work closely with Ford Commercial Vehicles to develop the solution.

Ford has purchased the first two Digit robots developed. Ford and Agility first began working together when the Digit prototype was launched in May 2019.

The two companies will continue to look at how the robot can be used in the last-mile sector and will explore other applications such as indoor or first-mile logistics and last-50ft delivery.

Research will also focus on how Ford’s commercial vehicles and Digit “talk” to each other and their surroundings through advanced connectivity technologies. For example, Ford’s connected vehicles can continually update cloud-based maps that can be shared with Digit so it doesn’t have to recreate the same type of information.

The team expects 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 enables Digit to ask for help if something unexpected is encountered.

“As online retailing continues to grow, 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.”

To see Digit in action at CES 2020, click here.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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