Ford is developing self-driving delivery vehicles it plans to launch in 2021, but there’s a problem.
If there isn’t a driver, who’s going to bring the package or pizza to your door?
In tests with faux-autonomous Domino's Pizza cars, Ford discovered that a lot of people were simply too lazy to make the trip to the curb to get their orders from the car themselves, so it came up with the obvious solution: robots.
The automaker has teamed up with Agility Robotics to field trial a humanoid robot that can unload and carry as much as 40 pounds to its final destination.
In a demonstration video released with the news, the skeletal biped rides curled up in the back of a van and is deployed like one of the Battle Droids from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” Its name is Digit, but instead of fingers, it has ball-shaped composite pads with nubs that allow it to hold on to the sides of a box.
The faceless creation is equipped with a Lidar puck on top that scans the area as it unloads a box and walks to the front door of a home, avoiding obstacles and climbing stairs along the way. The robot is linked to the car’s powerful cloud-connected computer system to help it process all the data required to navigate and sends a text when it drops the package off.
Ford is planning a real-world test of the symbiotic system, but a specific timeframe has not yet been determined.