Meet Digit: Ford's Robotic Delivery Service Right at Your Doorstep
This is every delivery person's nightmare on wheels: to be replaced by robots on the job. Of course, this won't happen any time soon, but it will happen. And when it does, don't be shocked when an odd-looking, bi-pedal robot delivers all your online purchases right to your doorstep.
This kind of service is what Ford Motors and Agility Robotics are striving to bring about. Their partnership was created to explore ways to "help commercial vehicle customers, including autonomous vehicle businesses, make warehousing and delivery more efficient and affordable for their customers".
And their first stop? Delivery Service.
Ford Motors will use two of Agility Robotics' robot "that works with humans and human spaces".
Nicknamed "Digit", the machine will be part of a unique package delivery service that not only hands out your online purchases, but also becomes an integral part of the customer service process. It will be designed to meet customer needs and preferences, such as where you prefer your packages to be delivered. What's more, this robot will be programmed to ask for help if something unexpected is encountered during the delivery process itself.
Digit resembles a small person in need of a protein diet. Really, it looks so emaciated we want to give it an intravenous drip of liquefied hamburger and fries 24/7.
And honestly, it looks creepy without the head--like it got decapitated while delivering a spare part for Terminator.
Yet despite that awkward design, it is semi-autonomous--meaning it can pick up and carry a box autonomously, but still needs the "soft and tender touch" of a human to steer it around. It can navigate its environment using LIDAR and other high-tech sensors. Moreover, this headless robot can carry up to 40 lbs of cargo (or boxes) in one standing. That's about 8 gallons of paint--or 5 (U.S. liquid) gallons of water.
Meanwhile, Ford hasn't given any information whether the robot also has the capacity for evasion and self-defense against hyperactive dogs, pesky humans (or animals), and other intrusive, subatomic particles that it will encounter along the way.
We hope it does. Otherwise, it won't only lose its head--it might lose all its limbs in the process.
Versatile and Multi-Functional
Agility Robotics boasts that Digit can be used not just in delivery services, but also in different business areas such as "logistics, warehouses, telepresence, and industrial inspection." Whatever the case, we're sure more diverse uses will crop up for this lovable, headless robot as time goes on.
Perhaps it might even run for president some day. All it needs is a head and a stylist to spruce up its image to public perfection.