ANA has signed a MOU with Agility Robotics, a
startup 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".