Agility Robotics is in the final stages of construction at its factory in Salem, Oregon. Their main goal is to begin mass production of the first series of humanoid robots, called Digit. Designed with two legs and two arms, these robots are specifically designed for mobility and collaboration with human workers in warehouses and factories.
The impressive 70,000-square-foot facility, called “RoboFab,” will be described by Agility Robotics co-founder and CEO Damion Shelton as the company’s pioneer in robotics.
Leading the Way in Robotics Innovation and Humanoid Design
Aindrea Campbell, the company’s chief operating officer, previously held senior positions at Apple. Ford iPad operations director and engineering director said that after the factory is fully completed, the annual production capacity will reach 10,000 units and more than 500 people will be employed. Agility Robotics is currently involved in building and testing its first production line.
Campbell added that this is a big project, not something that can be created immediately with one change. Professional development is a gradual process, she explained. The pivotal moment today is marked by the opening of the factory, the installation of production lines, and the initiation of capacity growth on an unprecedented scale.
Backed by venture investors such as DCVC and Playground Global, Agility Robotics has taken the lead over potential competitors, including Tesla and its Optimus initiative. They achieved this by successfully developing production prototype humanoid robots and establishing a factory capable of mass production.
Shelton said that his team designed Digit with a human-like form to enable the robots to handle lifting, sorting, and maneuvering tasks while maintaining balance. This design also allows them to operate effectively in environments where steps or other structural obstacles might otherwise restrict the use of robotic technology.
Additionally, the robots are equipped with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for power.
One feature absent in Digit is a hand with five fingers; instead, the robot’s hands have a more claw-like or mitten-like appearance.
Shelton explained, “Creating hands in the style of humans is exceedingly intricate. When I see robots with five fingers, I think, ‘Ah, someone built a robot, and then they added two more robots to that robot.’ The design should have a ‘hand’ that’s as complex as necessary for the intended task.”
Agility’s Versatile Robot, Business Plans, and Workforce Impact
According to Agility, Digit has the capability to navigate stairs, contort itself to fit into confined spaces, unload containers, transfer materials onto or off pallets and conveyors, and assist in sorting and redistributing materials onto other pallets. The company plans to send robots to its facilities to assist with deliveries.
Agility Robotics plans to give priority to its preferred business partners in the distribution of its robots next year and now prefers sales instead of rental.
When asked about concerns that their technology could change people’s jobs, Shelton shared his vision for Digit as a solution for manufacturing companies and delivery to meet growing needs, especially in this case. Those who choose to voluntarily leave a difficult-to-recruit job due to retirement or employees.
DCVC director and Agility investor Matt Ocko said that Digit aims to make a difference in finding millions of jobs that people do not need. He added that Agility Robotics carefully designed the robot to operate as a safe, independent and collaborative “robotic counterpart.”
Agility Robotics is making progress to revolutionize the number of robots at its Salem, Oregon location. The 70,000 square meter “RoboFab” facility is making progress in production. As Agility Robotics aims to create a positive impact across industries through robotics, Aindrea Campbell’s vision is to solve operational problems and prioritize safety and collaboration.