In an era marked by technological innovation, the world is on the brink of witnessing an out-of-the-box milestone: the emergence of the “World’s First Humanoid Robot Factory.” Agility Robotics is making remarkable strides in the creation of a cutting-edge facility spanning 70,000 square feet, located in Salem, Oregon. This state-of-the-art factory is poised to produce over 10,000 units annually of Agility’s humanoid robot, Digit, designed to collaborate seamlessly with human workers on the factory floor.
The Birth of RoboFab – World’s First Humanoid Robot Factory
Dubbed “RoboFab,” this manufacturing plant is slated to commence its operations later this year, with the first customer deliveries anticipated to roll out in 2024. The broader market availability of Digit is projected to begin in 2025. Agility Robotics aims to inaugurate its robotic production journey by manufacturing “hundreds” of Digit humanoids initially, with plans for significant expansion in subsequent years. The magnitude of this venture is akin to the pioneering efforts of Henry Ford’s first automobile factory, heralding a new era in robotics and automation.
Meet Digit: The Collaborative Bipedal Robot
Digit stands as a 5 feet 9 inches tall, 65-kilogram bipedal robot, armed with claw-like gripper hands capable of handling loads up to 16 kilograms. Impressively, it boasts autonomous recharging capabilities, enabling it to operate for up to 16 out of 24 hours, equivalent to two full-time shifts. Its unique locomotion system resembles that of a bird, inspired by the success of Agility’s Cassie robot, which broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest 100-meter sprint by a bipedal robot in 2022.
Digit’s innovative design allows it to fold its legs behind itself quietly and squat in front of shelves to grasp objects with minimal forward lean. Control is facilitated through a gamepad-style tablet, offering both manual operation and pre-programmed task execution. Notably, Agility is experimenting with large language model (LLM) AIs to enable Digit to autonomously respond to natural language commands, expanding its utility beyond conventional programming.
Initially, Digit will be deployed for relocating boxes and totes within Agility’s manufacturing facility and its early clients’ premises. The company envisions broader applications, including the loading and unloading of trucks, as it seeks to redefine the role of robots in modern manufacturing.