Digit the robot delivery man is designed to carry packages from a self-driving delivery van to your door.
Car maker Ford has released a video of a robot postman that might just be the daftest invention of all time.
The two-legged “autonomous delivery robot” known as Digit walks like a human, and can lift packages that weigh up to 18kg.
Digit – which resembles the Atlas humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics – can walk up and down stairs, navigate uneven terrain, and even react to things like being bumped without losing its balance and falling over, according to Ford.
Outfitted with a LiDAR and a few stereo cameras, Digit has just enough sensory power to navigate through basic scenarios.
But if Digit encounters an unexpected obstacle, it sends an image back to the vehicle – which is itself equipped with numerous sensors – to help find the best route to the front door.
If the car can’t identify a suitable pathway, it will send that information into the cloud and request help from other systems to enable Digit to navigate.
Ford claims these multiple levels of assistance are necessary to keep the robot light and nimble, and ensure its battery keeps running all day.
However, it’s easy to imagine Digit getting stuck in the middle of the pavement and blocking passers-by while images are sent back and forth from the cloud.
The robot moves at a glacial pace, and there’s nothing to stop a thief grabbing the package out of its “hands” as they pass it on the street.
Moreover, Digit doesn’t appear to be able to knock on the door or ring the bell – relying instead on a message sent to the recipient’s phone to notify them of delivery.
Self-driving delivery vehicles are still some way off in the UK – although a few companies have started trialling them in the US.
Ford is heavily focused on tackling the “last mile mobility challenge”, which aims to solve the complexity of delivering packages the last 15 metres from kerb to door.
The company has previously unveiled its concept for an “Autolivery” service , which uses drones to deliver packages to destinations inaccessible by car – such as high up in a tower block.
Other concepts include Carr-E , a robotic riding platform that fits neatly into the boot space usually occupied by a car’s spare wheel, and TriCiti, a folding electric tricycle that can be easily adapted into a shopping trolly.
Source: UK Mirror