Amazon could use humanoid robots in its delivery centres in the near future, to make packing and item selection more efficient.
A trial run in a test facility may well lead to a roll out across delivery centres in the US and elsewhere.
Digit is a bipedal robot, so walks on legs rather than tears through the aisles on wheels, and can move, grasp and handle items to help human employees with simple tasks.
Designed by Agility Robotics, with investment from Amazon, the mechanical assistant will initially be used to "recycle totes". That means it will pick up and store empty crates when items have been removed. It's a highly repetitive task, so by having Digit do it instead can release regular employees for more complicated work.
As reported by The Guardian, Amazon's chief technologist, Tye Brady, claimed that the robots will "eliminate all the menial, the mundane and the repetitive" tasks around its global centres. He denied that it will lead to job losses, commenting that people are "irreplaceable" in its operations.
"People are so central to the fulfilment process – the ability to think at a higher level, the ability to diagnose problems," he explained.
“We will always need people.
"I’ve never been around an automated system that works 100% of the time. I don’t think you have as well."
The robot itself, which was shown to collected media at one of the company's facilities in Seattle, is 5-foot 9-inches and weighs 143lb (65kg). It can walk forwards, backwards and crouch.
It can carry around a quarter of its own bodyweight.
Digit isn't the only automated assistant soon to be deployed by Amazon. it also has Sequoia, which looks a bit like a robot vacuum cleaner with Ikea shelving on its head.
It is capable of identifying and storing inventory at up to 75% faster than before. It can process orders quicker too, so same-day deliveries can be achieved more often.
It's not yet known how quickly Amazon plans to rollout these technologies to its fulfilment centres around the globe. It has said that there is a "big opportunity to scale" their use, however.