South Korean companies LG and Woowa Brothers announced today that they will work together on developing robots that deliver food to tables at restaurants as well as to your front door (hat tip to The Investor).
The companies didn’t provide many specifics, just saying that there were synergies between the two and they looked forward to making a better world where robots and humans coexist.
The move isn’t surprising given that both companies have made numerous robotic moves in parallel up to this point. Just earlier this month South Korean restaurant chain CJ Foodville started deploying LG’s CLoi ServeBots at its locations to serve food and shuttle empty dishes.
For its part Woowa Brothers, which operates Baedal Minjok, South Korea’s largest food delivery operation, launched a robot rental program for restaurants in November of last year. And last summer, Woowa partnered with UCLA to develop cooking robots. Woowa was acquired by Delivery Hero for $4 billion last December, but prior to that, Woowa’s CEO had talked openly about how delivery robots should be multi-taskers and do things like take away trash and recycling.
The announcement comes amid the backdrop of the deadly coronavirus. Cases in South Korea have spiked, and as the disease becomes a global pandemic, robots are one measure being taken to reduce human-to-human contact. As we saw early in the virus’ spread, a quarantined hotel in China used robots to serve food to stranded travelers. In fact, robots could wind up being instrumental in the contactless method of food delivery, if proper sterilization procedures can be put into place.
LG certainly isn’t alone in its food robot endeavors. Sony has a big vision for cooking robots and partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to research them. Sony also recently launched a dedicated artificial intelligence unit that would work on “gastronomy.”
All of this is to say that with the intense focus from companies like LG, Woowa, Sony and more, the world of food delivery and restaurant robots is being primed to undergo massive advancements in the coming years.