robots that deliver packages
by Rockwell Sands @

Ford Motors Unveils Robots That Deliver Packages

Agility's robot Digit teams with Ford's driverless vehicles on package deliveries to make an ultra high-tech future seem not so distant

While we’ve been sleeping, the robots have been plotting to take over the world! Well, not really…but robots are starting to make their way into home delivery. Ford Motor Corporation (NYSE: F) just announced a partnership with Agility Robotics to launch a line of robots that deliver packages directly to anyone’s doorstep. Don’t blink, because the potential future of home delivery is just around the corner, and its name is Digit.

Meet Digit, Ford and Agility’s Robot That Delivers Packages

Agility Robotics named their robot “Digit,” and the specs are pretty impressive. Digit can hold a load of up to 40 pounds and is equipped with lidar and stereo cameras to help with navigation. Digit can also walk up stairs to drop packages off right at a customer’s doorstep. As of now, we’re not sure if Digit is able to ring the doorbell…but you never know!

Ford’s Driverless Vehicles Communicate With Digit

The real interesting thing about Digit is the way that it integrates with Ford’s driverless vehicles. Speaking of, Ford’s automated cars are nothing to slouch at. They all come equipped with a suite of sensors and computing power that allows them to make complex decisions on the road. In addition, Ford’s driverless vehicles share all of the data they collect with the Digit robots even before they get deployed to deliver packages. This means that wherever Digit “wakes up” in the world, it knows exactly where it is. Additionally, if Digit ever hits an obstacle or a hiccup, it can send a signal back to the idling vehicle to get a little extra help.

Theoretically, Digit and Ford’s driverless vehicles seem like the perfect delivery tag team. Whether or not this futuristic partnership will work better than a good old fashioned human remains to be seen.

Robots Could Help Organizations Cut Costs—Including the Postal Service

It’s true that a lot of people get scared when they think of robots. Some worry about job security, and some worry about the dangers of artificial intelligence. However, the relationship between robots and humans doesn’t have to end in the kind of dystopia we saw in James Cameron’s Terminator movies. In reality, robots reduce the need for manpower and can operate at maximum output all the time. As a result, organizations will be able to focus their manpower and resources on other areas. Doing so will improve efficiencies and cut costs across the board. Cutting costs would inarguably help any organization’s financial health…including the Postal Service, which posted a $3.9 billion loss in 2018.

Robots Together With Driverless Vehicles Could Be the Future of Delivery

Ford’s partnership with Agility Robotics isn’t the only one making waves in the shipping world. USPS just announced a two-week pilot program with self-driving truck startup TuSimple to haul mail between Dallas and Phoenix. In addition, FedEx unveiled their own autonomous delivery robot “SameDay” earlier this year.

USPS and FedEx are obviously two of the world’s biggest names in shipping. However, there’s no way these organizations are the only ones out there experimenting with driverless vehicles and robot technology.

All things considered, it seems a world where driverless vehicles shuttle around robots to deliver our packages isn’t too far out of the realm of possibility. We’ll see what other companies come up with their own delivery robots as the race to transform the modern shipping industry surges on.

As for now, smile at your local letter carrier the next time you see them…because unlike robots, they can wave back.

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