U.S. start-up Agility Robotics has announced that its two-legged robot, Digit, is currently on sale, with carmaker Ford being one of the buyers,media reported. The car maker bought the first Digits to study the “last mile” express. It is understood that Digit’s fingers are about the same size and shape as adults. With the help of lidar and other sensors, it is able to move semi-autonomously, and its arms can pick up boxes weighing up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms).
Such a robot could be used in logistics, warehouses, remote rendering and industrial inspection, agility Robotics said.
Although multi-purpose mobile robots have developed and improved significantly in recent years thanks to advances in battery and navigation technology, they have yet to prove themselves on scale.
Although Digit can now do some of its own work, it is not as easy to adapt to the new environment as humans do. In the video below, Digit can pick up a box on his own, but according to AgilityRobotics, the robot’s operations in the office still require human manipulation.
In an email interview with The Verge, the company’s CEO, Damion Shelton, said That Digit’s initial price is currently at the low end of the six-figure median. Given the life expectancy of maintenance and robots, Shelton estimates that the cost per hour is about $25. “This represents a ‘completely manageable price’. (Customers can) remove Digit from the shipping box, charge, power up and start developing/using. “
Mr Shelton said Digit had the potential to play a role in a wide range of industry and sub-markets, and that they would also be sold to law enforcement and military departments, but
Only non-weaponization functions are available.
Some may wonder why law enforcement and the military are interested in Digit. This is not surprising, in fact, since Cassie, the robot’s predecessor, was developed with the help of DARPA to create a detection robot.
Ford’s test appears to be digit’s first official test. The carmaker said Digit would be able to put it in the back of a self-driving delivery truck with the task of putting the package on the consumer’s doorstep. This will allow the robot’s bipedal design to navigate the human environment, including steep stairs and obstacles.
In the future, robots like Digit will help companies deliver “more efficient and affordable” delivery services to customers, Ken Washington, Ford’s chief technology officer, said in a press release.
But given Digit’s very small yield, it highlights its experimental nature. It is reported that the first production of the robot is only six, Agility Robotics expects to produce only 20 to 30 such robots by 2020. The company says that number will at least double by 2021, but even so, the robot sits without impact on the market in the next few years.
But in any case, Digit’s commercial launch is an important milestone. Technological advances have made it possible for a new generation of mobile devices, including the four-legged robot Spot, which Boston Dynamics launched to customers late last year, but bipedal robots are far less common than quad-legged robots, and Digit is the first bipedal robot to be sold.