Japan to develop Avatars suitable for outdoor use

ANA has signed a MOU with Agility Robotics, a start-up spinoff of Oregon State University.

The two companies plan to investigate the feasibility of leveraging Agility Robotics’ robot platform to develop a new line of Avatars that are more rugged, resilient and suitable for outdoor use.

ANA aims to conduct outdoor field trials starting in 2020, with the target of releasing a service based on the product in 2021.

“Combining the leadership, strategy, connectivity and software innovation of ANA HD with the ground-breaking hardware developed by Agility Robotics, this partnership will allow each company to apply its core strengths to create an end product that is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA Holdings.

“By working in close collaboration with Agility Robotics, we will be able to take the Avatar platform to new places, opening up new possibilities. ANA remains committed to expanding the boundaries with Avatars and will continue to look for partners that allow the technology to reach its full potential.”

Agility Robotics’ latest model has a humanoid frame and is capable of independently traversing outdoor terrain. The robot is capable of climbing stairs and selecting its own routes, all while carrying objects.

By combining the research of Agility Robotics with ANA’s Avatar platform and core technology, ANA will enhance the Avatar capabilities of the robot, allowing it to be controlled from anywhere on the planet. ANA says that by bringing these two principals together will result in a wide range of applications in fields such as “tourism and entertainment as well as security and potentially even emergency rescue and response”.

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