A new decade for autonomous vehicles Mike Elgan, columnist, author, and gastro-nomad, talks to Tonya Hall about what the new decade will bring to the autonomous vehicle industry. Ford has announced that it is purchasing a new two-legged, two-armed robot produced by Agility Robotics, which the car-maker hopes will soon be walking around neighborhoods carrying parcels from the delivery vehicle right up to your door. Going by the name of Digit, the five-feet tall humanoid can navigate its way across urban settings ranging from sidewalks to flowerbeds in a surprisingly human-like manner, due to the mobile limbs attached to its upper torso. The uncanny valley effect is fortunately avoided thanks to the robot’s lack of a head. Digit has only just gone on sale, and the reason that Agility can boast Ford as the very first buyer is that the robot provides a solution to the so-called “last 50 feet problem”. In the home delivery industry 2.0, those 50 feet are the final steps between the autonomous vehicle carrying a customer’s order, and that customer’s doorstep. Ford’s interest in making driverless delivery vans and pick-ups is not new. The car-maker has committed to providing autonomous vehicles “for commercial operation” by 2021, and has… Read full this story
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