The result is that Digit is able to communicate with and share data with the self-driving vehicle, such as a detailed map of the surrounding environment. When a self-driving vehicle brings Digit to its final destination, the vehicle can wirelessly deliver all the information Digit needs, including the best pathway to the front door. Through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with a vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery.
The robot itself is outfitted with a LiDAR and a few stereo cameras - just enough sensory power to navigate through basic scenarios. If it encounters an unexpected obstacle, it can send an image back to the vehicle and have the vehicle configure a solution. The car could even send that information into the cloud and request help from other systems to enable Digit to navigate, providing multiple levels of assistance that help keep the robot light and nimble. Digit's light weight also helps ensure it has a long run time.
"Whether we are working side-by-side with robots in our numerous factories around the world or living with them as they help push packages to our door, our primary goal is to ensure they are safe, reliable and capable of working alongside people in intelligent ways," says Washington. "Through our collaboration with Agility, we are striving to determine the best way for our self-driving vehicles to cooperate with Digit and understand how this new delivery method can be taken advantage of in the future."
FedEx unveils autonomous delivery robot
Amazon field testing sidewalk robot delivery system
Ford, Walmart team on autonomous delivery of goods
First driverless delivery service launches for general public