Technology 3 min read

Meet Digit: Ford's New Walking Delivery Robot

Delivery Robot Digit | Ford

Delivery Robot Digit | Ford

On Tuesday, Ford announced its partnership with Agility Robotics in exploring the new frontier of autonomous delivery. To improve the capability of driverless vehicles in delivering packages, the two companies developed the two-legged delivery robot they called Digit.

To date, self-driving delivery cars are designed to move goods from one place to another. Since they are still considered vehicles, which should be parked on the side of the road, deliveries still need to be received by customers on side streets outside their homes.

Ford and Agility Robotics want customers to have a seamless autonomous delivery experience, so they developed Digit. Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer of Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering, explained:

“And as we’ve learned in our pilot programs, it’s not always convenient for people to leave their homes to retrieve deliveries or for businesses to run their own delivery services. 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.”

Delivery Robot Digit 2
Delivery robot Digit carrying a package to a customer’s doorstep | Ford

Meed Delivery Robot Digit

Digit’s primary purpose is to carry packages from autonomous delivery vehicles to the doorsteps of customers. Ford and Agility’s robot walks on its two feet and has a human-like build. The materials used to build the robot are lightweight, but it can carry up to 40 pounds of packages.

Digit can go up and down stairs, walk on rough terrain, and can also react to accidental bumps without falling to the ground. Washington added:

“Digit’s unique design also allows it to tightly fold itself up for easy storage in the back of a self-driving vehicle until it’s called into action. Once a self-driving car 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.”

Delivery Robot Digit
Delivery robot Digit alighting from an autonomous delivery vehicle | Ford

Aside from Digit’s capability to move around and carry packages, it can also tap on the data resources of another robot. Instead of creating its information, Digit can utilize the information already stored in another robot’s system to perform its task.

“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.”

According to Ford, their collaboration with Agility will help them identify the best way for their autonomous vehicles to work with Digit and take advantage of this new delivery method in the future.

Read More: Nuro Rolls Out Autonomous Delivery System In Houston

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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