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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.

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

Ford
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

We've been promised robots for decades, and yet, vacuuming our floors is about as good as it gets in the mainstream. Ford's 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.

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.