Hyundai Motors and Woowa Brothers announced this past weekend that they are partnering to develop last-mile food delivery robots.
Woowa Brothers, which operates the popular Baedal Minjok food delivery service in South Korea, launched its robot program last summer, making deliveries to Gwanggyo Alley Way, a housing complex in Gwanggyo, Suwon city.
According to the Korean Economic Daily, the Woowa and Hyundai signed a Memorandum of Understanding last Friday outlining two phases of development. The first will have robots autonomously taking deliveries from the entrance of a residential building to an apartment’s front door. (Presumably a human delivery driver would bring the order from the restaurant to the robot.) Later on, the two companies will work on robots that can autonomously make the entire journey from a restaurant or delivery hub to a customer’s home.
This agreement appears to build on a relationship that Woowa and Hyundai Elevator entered into last year. The two companies were also working with networking development platform HDC-I Controls to develop robots capable of gaining access to a secure building and autonomously riding an elevator once inside.
The global pandemic has spurred interest in contactless delivery, and a number autonomous robot delivery services have launched around the world. In Russia, Yandex is making robot food deliveries in Moscow. In Turkey, both Delivers AI and Bizero are doing robot delivery. And here in the U.S., there are a number of delivery robot players including Starship, Kiwibot and Refraction AI.
Woowa’s partnership with Hyundai, however, is exciting because we’re starting to see what happens when you connect various automated services together to create a truly autonomous last mile. Elsewhere in South Korea, LG is using its robots to make deliveries from a convenience store to the LG Science Park. Once inside, the the LG robot can ride the elevator and navigate between different floors to make deliveries.
If you are interested in the future of robot delivery, be sure to attend our ArticulATE virtual conference on May 18. It will bring together all the best thought leaders in the food robotics and automation space for one day of insight and foresight. Get your ticket today!