The robotics program at Oregon State University has launched their first business venture, Agility Robotics and their new bipedal robot referred to as CASSIE. The current focus for Agility Robotics (and their first customers) is to deliver robots who can go wherever humans can go.
Jonathan Hurst, the Chief Technology Officer at Agility Robotics (and an associate professor in Robotics at OSU) stated the technology for package delivery will “simply explode” in the future based off the advancements of today. Hurst envisions a world where “robots with legs can go places where wheels cannot”. This would lead to around the clock deliveries powered by autonomous robots while also giving “consumers more time to do the things they want to do.” Cassie is the newest version of that dream in terms of package delivery.
Cassie is a durable bipedal robot standing at half the height of an average man, and can take a fall. Cassie has steering ability, feet and is weather-resistant due to sealed system internals. Cassie can also sit down, crouch and squat in addition to beable to self-correct in case it is kicked or pushed while walking. Oregon State University/Agility Robotics built their own Lithium-Ion battery pack due to off-the-shelf components not being efficient for use in Cassie. The final leg design for Cassie was created from years of research, which ended up in having Cassie’s leg look similar to an animal leg. Hurst states that they weren’t trying to “duplicate the appearance of an animal, just the techniques it uses to be agile and efficient in its movements.”
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the building of Cassie through a $1 million grant over the course of 16 months. Agility Robotics has gone on record to say that all initial production of Cassie (and future prototypes) will occur in Oregon with hiring to commence once that stage is reached. Their goal is to commercialize the application of robots with legs.