Go Where Humans Go
Go Where Humans Go
Albany, OR and Dearborn, MI (May 22, 2019) - Agility Robotics and Ford Motor Company today announced a partnership to develop a last-mile logistics solution that combines Ford’s autonomous vehicle technology and Agility’s bipedal robot Digit. Breaking the delivery task into two pieces - a longer journey on roads, using a high-capacity vehicle, and a short trip across sidewalks, grass, and stairs from the road to the door - allows the right tool to be used for the job. “This partnership is exciting,” said Dr. Damion Shelton, CEO of Agility, “because it allows each company to focus on its area of unique expertise. Real-world logistics systems are composed of many specialized pieces, and Agility’s legged robots solve a critical challenge that has faced the autonomous delivery industry - how to get a package from a vehicle to the customer’s preferred delivery location.”
Announced in Feb. 2019, Digit is Agility’s second robot, and the successor to the Cassie design used successfully in research laboratories starting in 2017. Now, Digit moves outside of the lab and into the real world, and for the first time will be tackling the challenges that come with the complexity of unstructured human environments, while also performing a productive task. “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.”
Agility will announce Digit pricing mid-year, with deliveries beginning Q1 2020. In addition to being sold as a stand-alone product, the commercially released version of Digit will also be used in an autonomous delivery test program with Ford beginning early next year.