Delivery robots are making their way indoors. At least, they are starting to in South Korea. ZDNet reports today that LG has started using its Cloi Servebots to make deliveries from a local convenience store to anyone within the LG Science Park in Seoul.
The Serve bot, which features a series of shelves to hold food and drinks, will be able to get on the elevator at the Science Park and navigate nine above-ground floors as well as the basement to make deliveries to people there.
Typically, food delivery robots stop outside of a building, requiring the recipient to come out to retrieve the order. But robots in South Korea are starting to cross that threshold, as it were, to venture inside office and residential buildings to make deliveries more direct.
Earlier this month, Woowa Brothers announced that it was working with HDC I-Controls and Hyundai Elevator to allow Dilly robots to enter a residential complex and autonomously work the elevator.
As with the Woowa deal, there are still some details left unclear by ZDNet’s report about LG’s machines. To use the Cloibot, a user places an order through the KakaoTalk chat app. A human at the GS25 convenience store packs the order into the robot and sends it off. Then, as ZDNet writes:
The robots will then depart and send their destination information to a nearby elevator wirelessly. Once the robots arrive at their destination, they will call and text the customer to notify them of their arrival.
As with Woowa, which didn’t mention how its robots would navigate to a specific apartment after getting off an elevator, we don’t know how far the LG bot will go. Will it travel to a lobby, or a conference room or to a specific desk? Hopefully we’ll see more details from LG soon.
The bigger point is that delivery robots are gaining the ability to traverse indoor settings at the right time. The pandemic has businesses looking for a way to reduce human-to-human contact to reduce potential virus transmission. Having a robot means that a store or restaurant doesn’t have to send one of its workers out to make deliveries, and office/residential buildings can cut down on the number of different people coming in and out its doors.