I, Robot, want to swap parcels for politics


American carmaker Ford has teamed up with Agility Robotics to make the process of product delivery human-free.

It's hard to say which part of this robot is more upsetting: the fact that its knees bend the other way, that it doesn't really have a head but still has a neck of sorts, or that instead of five fingers on each hand it just has black plastic nubs.

Agility Robotics has partnered with Ford Motor Company to develop a last-mile logistics solution that combines Ford's autonomous vehicle technology and Agility's bipedal robot Digit, according to a press release.

Autonomous delivery vans are a great idea, but how do you get the package to the door?

The Digit robot can deliver a parcel to the end client's home. The robot, named Digit, is made by Agility Robotics.

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"When a self-driving vehicle brings Digit to its final destination, the vehicle can wirelessly deliver all the information it needs, including the best pathway to the front door".

If Digit finds itself in an uncertain situation, however, the robot is created to take advantage of the self-driving vehicle it was transported in to overcome adverse conditions.

Ford isn't the only manufacturer working on autonomous vehicles by far. Through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with a vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery.

Digit is equipped with lidar and stereo cameras to "see" its environment, but it can also rely on the delivery vehicle to help it navigate.

Digit can carry packages weighing up to 18kg and can climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain. Digit's light weight also helps ensure it has a long run time, which is essential for a self-driving delivery business that will be operating most of the day. The aim is to make auto and robot communicate, so that the vehicle could, for example, share delivery details and mapped pathways with the robot. The robot folds itself up in the back of the vehicle until needed to conserve space.