Human-centric Robot Digs into Logistics Tasks

Agility Robotics is deploying its Digit robot in a pilot at a SPANX facility.

Image courtesy of Agility Robotics.
Agility Robotics is deploying its Digit robot in a pilot at a SPANX facility.

GXO Logistics Inc., a major pure-play contract logistics provider, is conducting a proof-of-concept pilot for Agility Robotics’ human-centric robot named “Digit.” The robot is being tested on logistics tasks at SPANX’s facility in Flowery Branch, Ga., where GXO manages warehouse operations for the global womenswear brand’s direct-to-consumer and in-store orders.

As the industry leader in innovation, GXO works with global tech companies to develop and deploy technologies that will help customers enhance safety, efficiency, productivity, and employee engagement in their supply chain operations. “We’re excited to take this pioneering step with Agility in the evolution of technology in warehouse operations,” said Adrian Stoch, Chief Automation Officer at GXO.

Digit — which is 5'9” tall, weighs 140 pounds and can lift up to 35 pounds — is designed to work in human spaces and can be easily adapted to various warehouse tasks through software updates.

Jonathan Hurst, co-founder and Chief Robot Officer at Agility Robotics, said multi-purpose robots that can operate in human spaces will be an integral part of Agility’s future. “We’re excited to work with GXO to develop this technology for application in the supply chain industry,” Hurst said. “Importantly, there’s no need to redesign the warehouse or install infrastructure beyond that which is already designed around people.”

Agility Robotics and GXO are teaching Digit to undertake repetitive tasks such as moving totes from autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and placing them onto conveyors. Reduction of such repetition reduces strain, increases safety for team members, and frees them to do more value-added work in the warehouse. GXO’s recent survey confirms better engagement and higher job satisfaction among team members when working with technology. If this initial phase proves successful, it will pave the way for piloting Digit in a wider variety of roles in 2024.

Kuralamudhan Arutselvan, director of Automation and Innovation at GXO, said the pilot program marked another major milestone in the firm’s journey to continuously improve the work environment for employees while optimizing operations through innovative tech solutions.

“It’s energizing to see automation developing that can perform repetitive tasks with speed and precision working with our associates to provide a better workplace,” added Christy Hillier, senior director of operations at GXO.

Watch this video to learn more about how Digit works.

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Image courtesy of Agility Robotics.

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