The convenience economy has spurred companies and robotics enthusiasts to test out unprecedented, sci-fi style artificial intelligence (AI) powered delivery systems.
Fledgling projects unfolded on college campuses earlier this year, including Starship’s fleet of friendly looking robots. Their mission is to speedily deliver meals to hungry students. But as useful and charming as these robots are, robots of this form cannot overcome routine obstacles, like stairs.
Ford, in partnership with Agility Robotics, has embarked on the ultimate, multi-robot, AI powered delivery system. The details will amaze you.
Meet Digit, a mint-green robot whose design otherwise mirrors that of a human. Digit can walk with ‘two legs’ and carry packages with ‘two arms’, enabling it to deliver packages directly to a recipient’s door. This ability alone makes Digit unique, but get ready for the cool part…
When Digit’s self-driving ride arrives at the destination, the car wirelessly sends the robot the best walking directions for reaching the recipient’s door. “Through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with a vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery.” Wait, there’s more…
This is next level IOT tech. If Digit unexpectedly encounters an obstacle, it can ask the car for help. Digit takes a photo of the obstacle, sends the photo back to the car, and the car develops a solution. Metaphorically speaking, if the car winds up spinning its wheels, it can share the information on the cloud, relaying the info to other self-driving vehicles, and asking them to contribute ideas.
An interesting question that may or may not have arisen among robotics developers: how to handle robot cyber hacks. What happens when a wicked smart, pizza craving student hacks into the system, and redirects the delivery?
Other incredible and mind-boggling IOT based delivery ideas include Burger King’s Traffic Jam Whopper project, which uses motorcycles to deliver burgers to customers stuck in traffic.
Watch a video on Digit from CNN Business.