Ford has collaborated with a startup to create an autonomous transportation service, with a robot that delivers orders directly at home.
The transport of goods is one of the most obvious utilities of the next autonomous cars; especially to take the orders of our purchases directly to our house. Ford has already made some progress in this direction, with the development of autonomous vans.
Of course, these cars have a serious problem once they park, and now, how do they deliver the order? One option is that we have to get down to the car and pick up the package ourselves; but that would be counterproductive. The solution that has occurred to Ford is to use another robot, of course.
The robot that delivers orders directly at home
The Digit is a bipedal robot developed by the startup Agility Robotics; It’s a fairly new project, but one that has already got Ford’s attention. We are facing a robot of only 18 kg in weight, with a shape very similar to that of a human being, except in one vital detail: the shape of the knees. It is a joint like that of ostriches, in which the legs flex forward instead of backward like humans. But it is precisely this difference that allows the Digit to move in a similar way to a person.
Not only that, but this design allows the Digit to be folded and transported along with the orders. When it reaches the correct area, the van opens the door and automatically removes the robot and it unfolds and takes the box. The robot only has to walk the route from the car to the door and deliver the order.
Ford imagines a future in which these vehicles can be used both to transport orders and people. That the algorithm automatically matches passengers with orders that go to the same area; and that once they arrive, the customer can get off and the Digit robot delivers the package directly to the house.
Of course, one wonders if it would not be better for a human to deliver the order. But we must bear in mind that this is not just a prototype, an advance of what might be to come in the future. When autonomous cars are the majority on the roads, you can open the door to take advantage of them in this way.