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Amazon-backed humanoid firm Agility Robotics laid off a 'small number' of staff

Jyoti Mann   

Amazon-backed humanoid firm Agility Robotics laid off a 'small number' of staff
  • Agility Robotics said it laid off a "small number" of employees on Wednesday.
  • Amazon, which has invested in the company, is testing its robot in a research facility.

Agility Robotics reduced the size of its workforce on Wednesday.

The company told Business Insider that the job cuts affected a "small number" of employees.

"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," a spokesperson said.

Amazon is testing its Agility's Digit robots in a research and development facility near Seattle. The tech giant has previously funded Agility as part of its first round of investments through its $1 billion Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund.

An electrical engineer at the humanoid robotics firm shared in posts on LinkedIn and X that he was "one of the many laid off" at the company.

He added that he was "surprised at the timing" because he'd only just been moved from the support engineering team to the electrical engineering team last year.

Chief people officer Lisa Haugh commented on the LinkedIn post, saying she was "sorry" that he was "a part of the small group impacted" by the layoffs. It's not clear exactly how many employees Agility has or how many jobs were cut.

The job cuts underline the difficulty some robotics firms have with funding their activities even with the backing of tech giants, as Crunchbase has reported.

Agility also told BI that along with cutting jobs, it's also focused on meeting the "extraordinary demand for bipedal robots across industrial use cases."

"That means ramping up production of Digit while continuing to win top-tier global customers, and adding new roles that meet these goals. We believe today's actions will allow us to focus on the areas that drive productization, commercialization, and production of Digit."

The two-legged Digit can lift and move items in warehouses and distribution centers.

The company announced last month that it appointed a new CEO, Peggy Johnson, as it prepares to open a factory in Oregon later this year to start mass-producing robots.

Johnson previously told BI that it will churn out "hundreds" of its Digit robots in 2025 and then "ramp up capacity to thousands" in the years that follow.

It's been touted by the firm as a way to potentially help ease the labor shortage in the manufacturing industry, as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected there will be about one million openings for laborers and material movers over the next decade.

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