Ford to Invest in Autonomous Vehicles and Robots to Deliver Consumer Packages

Robotics

Ford is thinking about working with Agility Robotics to possibly birth a concept where two-legged robots can be carted around by self-driving vehicles / Photo by: Phillip Pessar via Flickr

 

The main goal of online shopping apps that offer practically everything is to put a premium on convenience, and as many smartphones and websites are being programmed to communicate with each other for the more efficient service of people, Ford wants to bring the efficiency in delivery through the use of both automated vehicles and robots that can be attached to them.

What does that mean exactly? According to TechCrunch, Ford is thinking about working with Agility Robotics to possibly birth a concept where two-legged robots can be carted around by self-driving vehicles.

This would put two of the most intriguing technological advances together and, for now, form the most innovative delivery idea yet.

The report further stated that Agility Robotics will be providing the robot for this project called “Digit,” which is a “two-legged robot that has a lidar where its head should be.” The robot can also carry a whopping 40 pounds of weight and will be, in theory, more than able to deliver any package within that weight range.

Ford is well aware of the challenges they will be facing if they pursue this plan, and that’s a good thing. The recent problems experienced by Tesla’s self-driving cars and the lawsuits that come with them have given Ford Motor CTO Ken Washington a lesson that getting automated cars to do anything will be a tricky and potentially risky process.

Even then, Washington and Ford are still determined to release their commercial robotaxi service by 2021.

But what about Digit? Interestingly, Agility claimed that they have also built the robot with a more complex brain so that when it “wakes up” it is able to quickly tell where it is in the world.

Agility CEO Damion Shelton said the approach they went with programming the robot to know where it is was based on the human understanding that as humans, we are aware of where we are based on what we’re seeing. These robots are given the advantage of not being late when booting up, and knowing what’s already going on the moment it is activated for package delivery.