ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages

 US car manufacturer ford has developed a robot capable of carrying packages to the customer’s front door. designed to unfold from the back of a self-driving delivery van, digit is a two-legged humanoid that can handle lightweight shipments of up to 40 pounds.

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages designboom

images courtesy of ford



after learning that the US postal service delivered more than 6 billion packages in 2018, ford saw an opportunity to alleviate the impact these kinds of services are having on cities and neighbourhoods. the automaker announced tuesday (may 21) that it was testing a robot to carry deliveries from its self-driving cars. 

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages designboom



digit can handle packages whilst travelling on pavements, climbing up stairs, and avoiding obstacles along the way. the robot can even walk through uneven terrain and react to being knocked over without losing its balance.

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages designboom



since self-driving vehicles can potentially move people and goods simultaneously, they hold great potential to make deliveries even more convenient and efficient. a ride-hailing trip could double as a delivery service, dropping off packages in between transporting passengers,’ explained dr ken washington vice president of ford research and advanced engineering.

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages designboom



developed in collaboration with agility robotics, digit is equipped with lidar and several stereo cameras to detect its surroundings. if the robot encounters an unexpected obstacle, it can send an image back to the vehicle which then configures a solution. if the vehicle has difficulty processing the information, it can relay it to the cloud and request help from other systems.

ford's foldable robot could soon be delivering your packages designboom



a video demo of digit has been released which sees the robot in action. it joins a host of delivery robots which have been revealed recently, including amazon’s autonomous blue scout bot and segway’s multi-tiered loomo trolley, which was released at CES 2019.



german manufacturer continental’s offering has been designed to resemble a dog, and travels close to its final destination in a driverless van. meanwhile, postmates has also developed a robot trolley complete with a friendly-face, with the aim of making deliveries more efficient by avoiding traffic and traveling on the sidewalk.

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