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Saturday, September 25, 2021

A two-legged delivery robot has gone on sale—and Ford is the first customer

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that contactless delivery is a future.

But while the contactless method looks like it’s here to stay, it looks as though the future of delivery services is about to change in an entirely different way.

The robotics company, which was spun out of Oregon State University in 2015, has announced that its two-legged robot, Digit, is officially on sale.

Created in part thanks to a research project with the car manufacturer Ford Motor, Digit can lift 40-pound packages (about 18kg) and could be used to deliver parcels in the future.

Making Digit available for sale is a milestone for Agility, which spun out of Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory in late 2015 with an aim to commercialize research on bipedal locomotion.

The company introduced its ostrich-inspired Cassie robot in 2017 as a bipedal research platform. Digit, which added an upper torso, arms, sensors and additional computing power to the Cassie design, was introduced in spring 2019. Since then, Agility has refined the design, including more advanced feet that allow Digit to balance on one foot or carefully navigate obstacles, and new sensors to perceive and map the world for robot navigation.

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