At the CES 2020 electronics show, U.S. startup Agility Robotics announced that its bipedal Digit robot has gone on public sale. The first two copies of the robot have already bought Ford – it’s working on them for the final stage of delivering goods to customers’ homes.
Digit is a humanoid robot of average human height. It has an installed lidar instead of a head and a stereo camera on its torso to track obstacles around it. The robot has two grasping arms and two legs to go up and down steps.
The two-legged robot platform is based on an early company development called Cassie The developers recently improved platform movement algorithm so that the robot could simultaneously perform two dynamic actions.
The Digit robot can carry a load of up to eighteen kilograms. The main applications of the device are: internal warehouse logistics, parcel delivery, telepresence, production control in a factory, and inspection monitoring of various infrastructure.
"The cost of the robot is determined individually for each customer, but I warn you that it is a six-figure sum [in dollars – editor’s note]. Taking into account extras like maintenance and programming of the robot, an hour of operation will cost the customer $25 (about ₽1, 600), " Damion Shelton, CEO of Agility Robotics, told the paper.
The robot is delivered to the customer with full current functionality. The Digit only needs to be charged to start using it. The Digit’s limb capabilities allow it to be folded compactly for storage or placement during transport. The Digit can also work alone or in company with other similar devices.
Before it is sold, the manufacturer puts certain restrictions on the types of work you can do in the firmware of the robot. For example, it cannot be used with any kind of weapon.
"We will not allow the Digit or other Agility robots to be armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons of any kind. This clause is specifically included in our contract with the customer when we sell the device, " Shelton explained.
A similar ban has been promoted for several years by the world’s AI developers and robotics Since AI and robotics are evolving at such a rapid pace that the possibility of fighting with autonomous weapons, including robots, is becoming increasingly likely.