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Communications of the ACM

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Ford's Way to Finish Driverless Deliveries: Package-Carrying Robots

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The DIGIT package delivery robot.

Researchers at Ford are working to incorporate an android capable of carrying a 40-pound load into the companys driverless delivery system.

Credit: Ford Motor Co.

Researchers at Ford are working to incorporate into the company’s driverless delivery system an android capable of carrying a 40-pound load.

The Digit android is intended to address what self-driving researchers refer to as "the last 50-foot problem," or how to get a package from an autonomous delivery vehicle to the customer's doorstep.

Ford's decision to use a robot with two legs instead of wheels came with help from researchers at the University of Michigan, who emphasized the inherent attractiveness of a bipedal robot.

In addition, the Digit system gets most of its computing power from Ford's self-driving vehicle, allowing the robot to have a more lightweight design.

Ford would like to deploy Digit delivery robots as soon as 2021, the same year it plans to introduce its autonomous vehicle fleets.

From Bloomberg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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