Home Bots & Business Humanoid Bipedal Robot Digit to Assist Amazon Employees

Humanoid Bipedal Robot Digit to Assist Amazon Employees

by Marco van der Hoeven

Agility Robotics has announced that Amazon will commence testing of its bipedal robot, Digit, in their operations. The robot was introduced by Agility Robotics earlier this year as a solution for repetitive material handling tasks, aiming to complement human workers in such roles.

Amazon’s robotics research and development facility, located south of Seattle, will be the first site to test Digit. This move expands the existing collaboration between Amazon and Agility Robotics, with Agility being a part of the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund.

Designed for logistics work, Digit is a multi-purpose robot with human-centric features. It is capable of moving, grasping, and managing items in various parts of a warehouse, including tight spaces and corners. Its dimensions make it suitable for environments built for human use. Both companies recognize the potential to implement mobile manipulator solutions like Digit on a larger scale, emphasizing its ability to cooperate with human employees and promote safety in the workplace.

Initially, Amazon plans to deploy Digit in tote recycling, a task that involves the collection and transportation of empty totes once they are devoid of inventory.

Damion Shelton, the co-founder and CEO of Agility Robotics, remarked on the announcement, highlighting the goal of the recent version of Digit to handle repetitive tasks and assist human workers. Emily Vetterick, Amazon’s Director of Engineering, also shared her views, noting the potential of robotics solutions like Digit in fostering workplace safety, improving delivery speeds, and offering new career avenues for Amazon employees.

Digit’s design focuses on human-centric spaces and tasks. Many of the tasks it is intended for revolve around human workflows, enabling versatile utility. Its primary functions encompass bulk material handling within warehouses and distribution hubs. The first Digits are expected to be delivered to customers in the Agility Partner Program by 2024, with a broader market release in 2025.

Agility Robotics has also shared plans about its new venture, RoboFab, a robot manufacturing facility spanning 70,000 square feet in Salem, Oregon. The company aims to produce hundreds of Digit robots in its inaugural year and has the potential to ramp up production to over 10,000 robots annually. Furthermore, Digit will be employed within the RoboFab™ facility, performing tasks similar to what it will do at customer sites, such as moving and handling totes.

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