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Agility Robotics Set to Mass-Produce Humanoid Robots in New Oregon Factory

Agility Robotics has nearly completed its new manufacturing facility, situated in Salem, Oregon, dedicated to producing their latest humanoid robot, "Digit". This bipedal robot, equipped with two arms, is specifically designed to move effortlessly and collaborate with humans in industrial settings like factories and warehouses.

The company's new 70,000 square-foot plant, dubbed “RoboFab”, stands as a pioneer in its field. Agility Robotics' CEO and co-founder, Damion Shelton, attests to its unparalleled nature.

The company’s COO, Aindrea Campbell, with prior roles at Apple and Ford, said the facility will have the potential to produce up to 10,000 units annually and will provide jobs for over 500 individuals. However, the immediate goal for Agility Robotics revolves around setting up and verifying the performance of the initial production lines.

Campbell describes this undertaking as immense. “This isn't a mere ‘on-off’ operation,” she said. “We're in the midst of scaling and enhancing a unique capability that’s truly groundbreaking.”

Supported by investors like DCVC and Playground Global, Agility Robotics has surpassed potential rivals, even Tesla’s Optimus initiative. They've achieved this by successfully developing a production-ready humanoid prototype and establishing a facility dedicated to its large-scale manufacturing.

Shelton explained that Digit’s human-like structure enables it to maintain balance and smoothly operate in environments with potential obstacles, such as stairs. These robots utilize rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and, rather than having a hand with five fingers, they possess a simpler claw-like design.

Regarding their robot design, Shelton mentioned, “Robot hands mirroring human ones can be overly intricate. Seeing a robot with five fingers makes me envision additional, unnecessary complexities. The design should serve its purpose efficiently.”

Agility's Digit can perform various tasks like navigating stairs, reaching confined places, and assisting in sorting and moving goods, as stated by the company. Campbell highlighted the company's plan to deploy these robots within their facility for internal logistics. Initial shipments of the robots are slated for Agility’s select partners next year, with sales being the only transaction model for the foreseeable future.

Addressing concerns about robots replacing human jobs, Shelton views Digit as an enabler for industries struggling with recruitment and an aging workforce. He envisions it bridging the gap in demand.

Matt Ocko of DCVC, an investor in Agility, said that Digit is poised to “occupy countless positions that generally aren't appealing to humans.” He emphasized Agility’s commitment to ensuring that their humanoid robots function as safe, independent “robotic colleagues.”


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