Ford Goes Further – To the Last Mile

Ford Goes Further – To the Last Mile

Ford is partnering with Agility Robotics to build a two-legged robot called Digit for package delivery.

Digit will unfold itself from the trunk of a driver-less Ford car at the destination, pick up the correct package and drop it off at a pre-designated delivery zone.

Ford is positioning itself to compete in the last mile delivery market. It is estimated that 85% of the last 50 feet from curb to door will be handled by autonomous robots like Digit.


Video Spotlight: Ford teams up with Agility Robotics to create a delivery bot


This post is based on the Venture Beat article, Ford taps Agility Robotics’ bipedal robot to test package delivery, by Kyle Wiggers, May 22, 2019; and the YouTube video, Ford teams up with Agility Robotics to create a delivery bot, by CNBC Television, May 22, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock/Tatyaby

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the operational benefits of Digit for Ford?

Guidance: Product innovation allows Ford to further its driverless vehicle development efforts. Partnership with Agility Robotics allows Ford to expand into the package delivery business.

2. Do you think it is wise for Ford to compete in the last-mile delivery market?  Continue reading

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California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

May 19, 2019

California’s farmers, who produce almost half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables and over 90% of tree nuts, are increasingly mechanizing operations to cope with ongoing labor shortages and increasing costs of labor.

In particular, mechanized planters, weeders, and harvesters, along with specialized tractor attachments are gaining popularity.  Robotic farm technology is also being developed to harvest crops like strawberries and grapes.

One other potential way to address the labor shortage lies in improving the cumbersome temporary visa program that allows people from other countries to enter legally for the purpose of filling jobs that American workers don’t want to do.


Video Spotlight: Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help


This post is based on the CNBC article, California farmers increasingly turning to mechanization due to labor shortages, says survey, by Jeff Daniels, May 1, 2019; and the YouTube video, Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help, by CNBC, March 8, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / tanger

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the pros and cons of increased use of mechanization?

Guidance: For larger farm operations with the capital Continue reading

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