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Agility Robotics fires some employees as it focuses on going public

Agility Robotics confirmed on Thursday that it had fired a “small number” of workers. The Oregon-based company with lots of money says the job cuts are part of a company-wide push to make more products.

“As part of Agility’s ongoing efforts to structure the company for success, we have parted ways with a small number of employees that were not central to core product development and commercialization,” the company said in a statement. At the same time, we are focused on meeting the huge demand for robots that can walk on two legs in a wide range of industrial settings. To do that, Digit production needs to be sped up, and the company needs to keep winning big customers around the world and create new roles that help them reach their goals. We think that what we did today will allow us to focus on the things that will help us make Digit a product, sell it, and make more of them.

The two-legged robot Digit, made by Agility, was ahead of its time in the industrial humanoid field. The company grew out of research done at Oregon State University. Over the years, people have been very interested in its impressive robots with legs. Ford was an early supporter as Agility looked into Digit’s potential for last-mile delivery. In the end, though, those efforts were put on hold while the company focused on warehouses that were short-staffed.

Agility’s work has had plenty of funding, even though investments and use of robotic systems have slowed down overall. This can be seen as a necessary correction after a huge boom caused by the pandemic.

This month, two years ago, the company announced a $150 million Series B round. Amazon played a big role in the round through its Industrial Innovation Fund. After that, the big store chain said it would test Digits as part of its fulfillment center workflow. The pilots are over now, but neither company has said what they will do next.

Other companies that make humanoid robots have also announced their own pilots in the past few months. Figure with BMW and Apptronik with Mercedes are two examples. At Modex last month, Agility showed off updates to Digit’s end effectors that were made to work better with workflows in the automotive manufacturing industry.

In the past year, Agility has also hired a number of well-known people, such as Peggy Johnson, CEO of Magic Leap, as CEO, Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch, as CTO, and Aindrea Campbell, COO, who used to work for Apple and Ford.
The company’s jobs page currently has five openings, most of which are in engineering and manufacturing.

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