If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that contactless delivery is a future.
But while the contactless method looks like it’s here to stay, it looks as though the future of delivery services is about to change in an entirely different way.
Ford has teamed up with Agility Robotics to develop a two-legged delivery robot called Digit, which stands up and walks like a human being.
Check it out here:
The headless, two-legged robot – that can unfold itself out of the back of an autonomous car – could be a sign of the future of home deliveries.
Our goal with Digit is to have a robot as a mobility platform that can be in human spaces, go where people go, and work with people. And there are so many applications where that’s going to be a useful and important task. One of the big ones is package delivery.
A robot vehicle that can drive on all our roads is going to be able to do that. But how do you get it from the vehicle to the doorstep? And that’s where our robot comes in. That’s what Digit can do.
Ford says Digit can carry as much as 40lbs in weight, and is also able to navigate stairs and get around unexpected obstacles – but how? Digit is fitted with LiDAR sensors and several stereo cameras, the same technologies used on self-driving cars.
The autonomous vehicle should be able to transmit this information to the robot to help it navigate the best pathway to reach the front door.
Ford’s senior technical leader in robotics, Jim McBride, explained that Digit would already have all the information required for the mission before arriving at the destination, and the self-driving vehicle would be there with assisting information if the robot ran into any difficulties or obstacles.
‘We’d envision the autonomous vehicle to arrive at the site with all the information you’d need to know about starting a mission. We’d have the prior maps and the vehicle would be able to aid the robot when it got out of the vehicle, in knowing where it was and where it needs to go,’ he told the publication.
‘And additionally, the autonomous vehicle is full of sensors and computers that can help the robot, which is a little bit thriftier around those components. Should it run into any difficulties in package delivery, we can either solve the problem on the car or we can relay that information to the cloud for further assistance.’
There’s no information on when Ford plans to unleash Digit on the world, but whenever it does, the world of home delivery will never be the same again.