At CES 2020 the majority of the Ford stand was dedicated to the key areas of connectivity, autonomy and electrification with most of the products based around a large passenger car presence but Ford also worked with Agility Robotics to showcase a very interesting offering towards the back of the stand.
Last year they had a Transit Connect autonomous van on display and this year Ford Commercial vehicle have obviously been thinking at the parcel delivery market and have come up with a novel solution to help this industry. We have all been reading about the “final mile” or “last mile” delivery and the issues around this subject area, well Ford have taken a little further down the line and they are thinking about the final 100 metres or yards.
At the show Ford had a Transit Connect van, nothing special about that, but behind it was a two legged robot looking to deliver parcels out of the back of the van. Agility Robotics are a US based robotics company (Oregon state to be exact) and they are delivering a walking robot rather than a wheeled version – the reason?
According to the guys at Agility Robotics on the stand, 98% of households in the US have not got suitable access for wheeled robots, and in a future world of intense parcel deliver as well as supermarket delivery a robot that can walk upstairs has a big advantage.
Ford and Agility Robotics deliveries
The Agility Robotics team have developed two working protypes which Ford has taken delivery of and they will be working on integrating the robotic software with the vehicle software and how they can “talk” with each other to perform the duties of autonomous parcel delivery to customers requiring a robot that can walk upstairs.
Whilst at first glance this sounds a little farfetched, the intense delivery schedules even at today’s levels means as much automation is required to satisfy the demands envisaged in the foreseeable future.
See the full CES 2020 Show Report