The Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is testing a folding and walking delivery robot.
Impressively, YouTube video shows Digit the robot unfolding itself, carrying a package, and walking down the street. Digit is the creation of Agility Robotics, a research startup that comes out of Oregon State University, The Verge reports.
The plan is for a self-driving Ford Transit van to haul Digit to your house. Next, the robot will carry the package to your doorstep. Theoretically, this process requires no humans. Although present-day vehicles will require a driver.
Currently, Digit rides in the back of the van and unfolds itself after arriving at the house. Under the current plan, Digit will recharge itself in the back of the van, and get directions from the van’s sensors.
Ford’s Scary Walking Robot hits the Road
Ominously, Digit looks like the evil Trade Federation’s battle droid robot soldiers from George Lucas’s underappreciated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and its sequels. In the movies, squads of killer droids hung on rods like clothes and unfolded themselves before attacking.
Hopefully, Star Wars will not inspire dictators to build armies of folding robot soldiers helicopters will deliver to the battlefield. Even scarier could be a cyborg warlord; like The Revenge of the Sith’s Jedi butcher General Grevious, to command that army. Grevious; my favorite Star Wars villain, was the ultimate terminator with a folding robot body.
Will Ford’s Robot Army terminate your Job?
Future plans at Agility Robotics include robot grocery delivery. However, Ford is apparently the only partner Agility Robotics seems to have.
Strangely, the greatest bar to Digit’s deployment in our neighborhoods could be the Teamsters Union. United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) is a Teamster’s shop. I predict the Teamsters will show no love for Digit, unless it pays dues.
Finally, Digit’s appearance will intensify the debates over technological unemployment and job-killing robots. Perhaps the real reason some Star Wars fans hate Lucas’s prequel trilogy is that those films are too close to reality. Unfortunately, that reality is staring us in the face and we need to talk about now before Ford’s droid army terminates our jobs.