Ford signs up as first buyer for Digit robot and it's ready to deliver

We're not speaking figuratively -- it's ready to deliver lots of stuff, including packages and warehouse items.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Digit robot by Agility Robotics
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Digit robot by Agility Robotics

"Here is your box of QR codes, package recipient."


We've been promised robots for decades, and yet, vacuuming our floors is about as good as it gets in the mainstream. ready to change that, however, and became the first customer of Agility Robotics, responsible for assembling Digit, as of Monday.

You may remember Digit from last year. In May, Ford announced a partnership with the company to work on the robot, which the manufacturer imagines as a solution for last-mile deliveries. Even if Ford had a perfect self-driving car today, when it comes to deliveries, the human recipient still needs to meet the vehicle to grab their goods.

That's where Digit is meant to come in. The friendly robot can complete a delivery process, though Ford and Agility think it'll be a splendid addition to warehouses as well.

Digit is a robot that wants to put parcels on your porch

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While Ford will take home the first two Digit robots, there's still a lot of research to do. Both companies said they'll continue to explore technologies to understand how Digit and Ford's autonomous cars can "talk" to each other and learn about their surroundings. The goal is to create a communications channel to keep out redundant information between a self-driving car and robot delivery person. Both machines could share where a customer wants a package, or if there are any special instruction deliveries, for example.

Since we last saw Digit, Agility and Ford have been hard at work on improvements. The robot manufacturer said it's updated the machine with better feet to navigate tighter areas, included new sensors to "see" the world more clearly and more powerful computer hardware. What hasn't changed is Digit's ability to basically become a Transformer. The robot can neatly fold up for storage into the back of a vehicle. When it's needed, Digit snaps back into action.

While Ford now owns the first two production robots, Agility and Ford plans to showcase two other preproduction robots at CES 2020.

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2020

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