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Agility Robotics lays off some employees amid commercialization focus

Agility Robotics confirmed Thursday that it has laid off a “small number” of employees. The well-funded Oregon company said the layoffs are part of a company-wide effort to focus on commercialization.

“As part of Agility’s ongoing efforts to build the company for success, we have parted ways with a handful of employees who are not critical to core product development and commercialization,” the company wrote in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “In the meantime, We are committed to meeting the significant demand for bipedal robots for industrial use cases. This means increasing Digit’s production while continuing to win top customers around the world and adding new roles that meet these goals. We believe today’s actions will allow us to focus on driving The area of ​​digital productization, commercialization and production.”

Agility leads the way in industrial humanoid robots with its bipedal robot Digit. The company was spun out of research at Oregon State University. Over the years, there has been no shortage of interest in its impressive legged robots. Ford was an early champion as Agility explored Digit’s last-mile delivery potential. Ultimately, however, those efforts were shelved as the company turned its focus to understaffed warehouses.

Agility’s efforts are not short of funding despite a general slowdown in investment and adoption of robotic systems, both of which could be seen as a correction after the massive boom caused by the pandemic.

Two years ago this month, the company announced a $150 million Series B funding round. Amazon participated in the round through its Industrial Innovation Fund. The retail giant later announced it would pilot Digits as part of its fulfillment center workflow. The pilot is now over, but neither company has announced next steps.

A number of other humanoid robotics companies have announced pilot projects of their own in recent months, including Figure with BMW and Apptronik with Mercedes. Last month at Modex, Agility demonstrated an update to its Digit end-effector designed specifically for automotive manufacturing workflows.

Agility has also made a number of high-profile hires over the past year, including Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson as CEO, Fetch CEO Melonee Wise as chief technology officer, and former Apple and Ford executive Aindrea Campbell as chief operating officer.

The company’s job page currently lists five open positions, primarily in engineering and manufacturing.

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