Digit: A Post Person Postrobot


Our postpeople have been putting in a lot of hard work in the past ten years. The new door to door marketplace has brought a boom to the delivery industry. Last year the U.S. Postal Service alone delivered more than 6 billion packages; that’s double what it was handling only a decade ago. While this is great for industry, it puts a lot of pressure on postpeople, but luckily we are headed to a post postpeople post industry with a postrobot.


In an effort to bring the world into the future, Ford has teamed up with Agility Robotics based in Albany OR. Agility Robitics specializes in, you guessed it, robots. The two companies plan to change the way that we make deliveries, and it all starts with the way that we think about autonomy.


For a while now we’ve all had our eyes on self driving vehicles, not only are they fascinating, but they could be the perfect way to revamp the mail industry. There’s only one problem: vehicles can’t bring packages right to the door. That’s where Digit comes in, this two-legged robot is designed and built by Agility Robotics and it’s going to change the way we get our packages.


Digit doesn’t just look human, it walks like one too. The lightweight material used to make Digit gives it an agile movement that’s unlike most robots. It moves around just like you and me. And, just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it can’t lift a heavy load. Digit can carry up to 40 pounds.


Digit doesn’t just go up and down stairs, it can go over uneven terrain, and can even compensate for being bumped into. These skills are incredibly important for robots, but often taken for granted in humans. Digit’s hidden skill is what’s most amazing, and what’s most interesting is that it shares it.


If Digit runs into an obstacle that it can’t navigate around it sends the information back to the delivery vehicle which in turn maps out a solution. The key for Digit is that it’s the delivery vehicle’s partner. The two autonomous computers work together to solve problems and deliver packages.


Digit is a completely new platform and that means it has a completely new form factor. Digit folds up into the back of the delivery vehicle leaving a lot of room for plenty of packages. Once the team of autonomous computers arrive at the delivery location it unfolds and climbs out of the vehicle with the package clutched between its hands (nubs?).


Ford and Agility Robotics hope to push Digit further and fully understand how this delivery method can be taken to the next level and ready for the future. Hopefully this new team joined with their robotic team can achieve their goals and take some pressure off our postpeople.

Categories: People, News
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