- Agility Robotics is constructing a 70,000-sq-ft factory in Salem, Oregon, for producing Digit humanoid robots at a capacity of over 10,000 units per year.
- RoboFab factory to open later this year, with customer deliveries slated for 2024 and general market availability in 2025.
- Agility COO draws parallels between RoboFab and Henry Ford’s historic automobile factory, envisioning a future where humanoid robots are ubiquitous.
In a significant development on the AI and robotics front, Agility Robotics is nearing the completion of its state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, aptly named “RoboFab,” in Salem, Oregon. This cutting-edge factory, set to become the world’s first of its kind, is gearing up to produce more than 10,000 units annually of the company’s remarkable humanoid robot, Digit. Scheduled to commence operations later this year, Agility Robotics anticipates shipping its Digit robots to customers in 2024, with broader market availability expected in 2025. Drawing inspiration from the past, Agility’s Chief Operating Officer, Aindrea Campbell, draws a historical parallel, likening RoboFab to the pioneering days of the automobile industry, envisioning a future where humanoid robots play a ubiquitous role in various industries.
Digit is a revolutionary bipedal robot
Digit, standing at an impressive 175 centimeters (5 feet 9 inches) and weighing around 65 kilograms (141 pounds), is a revolutionary bipedal robot that showcases remarkable capabilities. Designed for versatility, Digit boasts claw-like gripper hands capable of carrying loads up to 16 kilograms (35 pounds) and the ability to autonomously recharge, allowing it to function for as long as 16 hours out of every 24. Its unique leg design, reminiscent of a bird’s, offers exceptional flexibility, allowing Digit to fold its legs silently behind it and squat in front of shelves to retrieve objects with ease. These features set Digit apart as a pioneering robotic platform, perfectly suited for collaborating with humans in various work environments.
Harnessing AI for advanced control
Digit’s evolution has seen it equipped with advanced technologies such as camera vision and LiDAR. Initially introduced as a concept for parcel delivery by Ford in 2019, it has come a long way. While it can be controlled using a gamepad-style tablet and programmed with specific tasks, Agility Robotics has recently embarked on an innovative journey by integrating Large Language Model (LLM) AIs. This novel approach enables Digit to respond to natural language verbal commands and even program itself in response to human instructions. This leap in AI integration holds immense potential for enhancing Digit’s adaptability and expanding its applications in various industries.
Reshaping the role of humanoid robots in the workforce
Digit’s initial deployment will involve tasks like moving boxes and totes within Agility’s own factory and those of early customers. The company’s future ambitions include having Digit take on loading and unloading tasks for trucks, showcasing the robot’s ability to handle various manual labor roles. While more complex tasks remain on the horizon, Agility Robotics seems intent on exploring a range of practical applications for its humanoid robot.
While the claim that RoboFab is the world’s first humanoid robot factory may spark debate, the emergence of such facilities, including Chinese company Fourier Intelligence’s GT-1 production announcement, underscores a growing momentum toward integrating humanoid robots into the workforce. As more companies invest in this transformative technology, it becomes increasingly clear that the way we work is poised for a substantial shift. The rise of humanoid robot workers presents both challenges and opportunities, and as the technology continues to evolve, industries worldwide must prepare to adapt to this changing landscape. Brace for change, as the future of work enters a new era with humanoid robots like Digit stepping onto the global stage.
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