Robotic company Agility Robotics has partnered with Amazon to test its advanced robot called Digit in Amazon’s research and development facility. The purpose of this collaboration is to explore the potential of using robotics technology to assist human workers in repetitive and potentially hazardous tasks within the warehouse environment. Digit is designed to work alongside Amazon employees, taking on jobs that are too dangerous or monotonous for humans.
Agility Robotics describes Digit as a “human-centric” robot specifically designed for logistics work. Its capabilities include navigating tight spaces, grasping and handling items, and moving objects within a warehouse. With its cutting-edge sensors and cameras, Digit can scan and understand its surroundings. The robot’s size and shape are optimized for working in human-designed buildings, making it a suitable addition to Amazon’s warehouse operations.
The introduction of Digit aims to improve workplace safety by reducing the risk of repetitive motion injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, repetitive motions and microtasks caused over 16,000 workplace injuries in 2021. Agility Robotics’ partnership with Amazon seeks to address this issue by allowing Digit to perform repetitive tasks such as tote recycling, organizing containers, and repositioning inventory. By automating these tasks, human employees can avoid the physical strain and potential injuries associated with repetitive motion.
While the testing phase will take time, Amazon and Agility Robotics are committed to obtaining feedback from workers to ensure the robots effectively assist and enhance their workflow. Emily Vetterick, director of engineering for Amazon Robotics, emphasizes the importance of employee feedback in the testing process. This feedback will play an integral role in evaluating the effectiveness of Digit and its impact on workplace safety and overall employee experience.
Once the testing phase is successful, Agility Robotics plans to make Digit available to other customers. In 2024, Digit devices will be distributed to members of the Agility Partner Program, followed by a general market release in 2025. To meet the growing demand for advanced robotics technology, Agility Robotics has announced the opening of a new robot manufacturing facility called RoboFab in Salem, Oregon. This facility will have the capacity to produce hundreds of Digits in its first year, with the potential for further scalability in the future.
As the collaboration between Agility Robotics and Amazon progresses, the integration of robotics technology is expected to optimize warehouse operations, improve workplace safety, and create new opportunities for workers in the ever-evolving world of logistics.
Q: What is Digit?
A: Digit is an advanced robot developed by Agility Robotics that is designed to assist with logistics work in warehouses.
Q: How will Digit help improve workplace safety?
A: By automating repetitive and potentially hazardous tasks, Digit can reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries for human workers.
Q: When will Digit be available to other customers?
A: Members of Agility Robotics’ partner program will receive their own Digit devices in 2024, and the robots will be available to the general market in 2025.