Get ready for a world where your next home delivery is made by robot.
Auto giant Ford is teaming up with a robotics firm on a self-driving delivery project which features a two-legged robot carrying packages from the car to your front door.
The robot, named Digit, is made by Agility Robotics. It moves like a human and can lift packages weighing up to 40 pounds.
In a Medium post detailing the endeavor, Ford chief technology officer Dr. Ken Washington said Digit will help self-driving cars accomplish the final step in the delivery process that had been difficult to achieve.
“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,” wrote Washington. “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.”
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The robot is able to react to situations like being bumped while maintaining its balance, said Washington. It can also climb up and down stairs and navigate uneven terrain.
A video of Digit in action shows the robot folded up in the back of a vehicle. When it’s ready for deployment, the trunk of the vehicle opens and Digit unfolds. The vehicle can also share map data of the surrounding environment with Digit.
“Through our collaboration with Agility, we are striving to determine the best way for our self-driving vehicles to cooperate with Digit and understand how this new delivery method can be taken advantage of in the future,” said Washington.
Ford’s plan to leverage robots for home deliveries is only the beginning. In January, Amazon revealed it started testing a six-wheeled robot named Scout to make deliveries in a neighborhood in Washington state.
Meanwhile, FedEx is working on a SameDay bot capable of delivering packages autonomously.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.