Ford Teams with Agility Robotics on Walking Bots

Ford Motor Co. is partnering with Agility Robotics, an Albany, Ore.-based tech startup, to integrate walking robots with future self-driving delivery vehicles.

Agility says its two-legged Digit robot can climb stairs and traverse uneven terrain. The android can carry 40-lb packages and maintain its balance if jostled, according to the supplier.

When not in use, Digit folds up and stores itself in the vehicle. Upon arriving at a home delivery stop, the robot would climb out, pick up the package and take it to the customer’s door.

Ford says Digit will be wirelessly connected to its host self-driving vehicle’s sophisticated network of sensors and processing capabilities to plot its route and avoid obstacles. The robot also will be equipped with its own cameras and lidar to help keep on track as it moves.

Ford plans to test delivery vans with Digit in real-world applications in Michigan and Pennsylvania in coming months. Tests also will be conducted within Ford factories.

The carmaker aims to launch commercial applications with the robot as early as 2021. That’s the same timeline Ford has for introducing its first fully autonomous vehicles.

Watch a video about Digit HERE.