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Human-Like Robot Developed for Home Delivery Purposes

31 May 2019 - 14:16 by David Aiken

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While autonomous delivery technologies of many kinds have already been revealed by various organisations, it seems that automaker Ford is the first to introduce a robot designed to cater for the trend for increased safe shopping online which is also similar in form to a human being.

The Daily Star reports that Ford’s fledgling robot stands on two legs and will be capable of carrying packages from delivery vans to the doorsteps of customers, presumably allowing fully automated shipping to be achievable in the near future.

Combining a self-driving van with a humanoid robot for last-mile delivery certainly makes sense from a practical perspective and will presumably help retailers to cope with the growing demand for e-commerce services. However, some industry insiders have expressed concern at the likelihood that the robot will reduce the number of jobs that are available for people in this area.

In order to ingratiate the robot with prospective customers, Ford and its partners have named it Digit, personifying it in a fairly charming way. Furthermore, this is not just some concept design that will not lead to a full product: Ford has announced that it will be mass-produced and put into service at some point within the next 12 months.

In the UK the trials involving delivery robots have focused on wheeled devices which can travel autonomously between stores, depots and customers’ homes. There have also been experiments with airborne delivery drones, although there are growing fears about the safety of these systems, which might make their land-based equivalents more appealing.

A dramatic spike in the number of vans on the roads of the UK could be abated if automated systems are adopted, although whether or not Ford’s walking, talking robot delivery person will be a hit on British soil remains to be seen.