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12.11.19
Dynamic Duo

This Two-Legged Robot Will Deliver Packages via Self-Driving Fords

May 22nd 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Advanced Transport
Ford

Digit Express

Ford has a vision for the future of package deliveries — and it starts with a robot named Digit.

On Wednesday, the automaker dropped a Medium blog post announcing a new partnership with Agility Robotics. The idea is that Ford will develop self-driving vehicles to transport packages to online shoppers’ homes, and then Agility’s bipedal robot Digit will carry the goods right to their doorsteps — a dynamic delivery duo for the on-demand economy.

Order Up

A video released alongside the blog post reveals how Ford envisions the partnership playing out.

First, a customer places an order online, and a warehouse worker packs it into a cardboard box (that a human completes this step in the process might be least realistic part of Ford’s vision).

Digit then uses its hilariously spiky “hands” to carry the box to a self-driving van. Once the van arrives at its destination, the trunk opens, and Digits folds out of it. The delivery robot then walks the box to the home’s doorstep.

Team Autonomy

According to Ford, the self-driving car and the delivery robot could even collaborate on this final step in the process.

“A self-driving vehicle is capable of creating a detailed map of the surrounding environment, so why not share that data with Digit instead of having it recreate the same type of information?” Ford writes, noting that “through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with a vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery.”

READ MORE: Meet Digit: A Smart Little Robot That Could Change the Way Self-Driving Cars Make Deliveries [Medium]

More on deliveries: The US Post Office Is Testing Self-Driving Mail Delivery Trucks