FORD PARTNERS WITH U-M ON ROBOTICS RESEARCH, NEW BUILDING
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #490
Digit marches on two legs across the floor of the University of Michigan’s Ford Motor Co. Robotics Building, while Mini-Cheetah — staccato-like — does the same on four and the yellow-legged Cassie steps deliberately side-to-side.

A grand opening was held Tuesday for the four-story, $75 million, 134,000-square-foot (11,429-square-meter) complex. Three floors house classrooms and research labs for robots that fly, walk, roll and augment the human body.

On the top floor are Ford researchers and engineers and the automaker’s first robotics and mobility research lab on a university campus.

Together, they will work to develop robots and roboticists that help make lives better, keep people safer and build a more equitable society, the school and automaker announced Tuesday.

“As we all drive and use our vehicles and go about our day-to-day lives, I’m sure all of us have moments in our day where we could use a little help or a little assistance,” said Ken Washington, Ford’s chief technology officer.

“We are going to be working on drone technology, walking robots, roving robots, all types of robots in this facility and the ways in which they can make people’s lives better,” Washington added. “And we’ll do it in a way that addresses questions and fears around safety and security. The more people see how these robots can interact with society and interact with humans, the more comfortable they’ll get with them.”

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