If you want to know what the future of robot delivery looks like, then take a look at what Woowa Brothers is doing in Korea. The Aju Business Daily has a story up today about how Woowa is creating new partnerships that will allow its robots to pass through a building’s security as well as take an elevator to travel between floors.
In August of this year, Woowa’s “Dilly” robots started making limited food deliveries to a multipurpose housing complex in Gwanggyo, Suwon city. But in this scenario, when it arrives, the robot waits at the entrance of the complex and the resident who placed the order must come down to retrieve their items.
As Aju reports, Woowa has partnered with networking platform developer HDC I-Controls and Hyundai Elevator to make a Dilly’s delivery more direct. With HDC I-Controls, Woowa’s robot will be able to automatically get through a front door’s security system and enter the building. Once inside, the connection with Hyundai Elevator will allow the robot to automatically travel in between floors of a building. This functionality is expected to roll out next year.
While Aju didn’t mention how the robots navigate to a recipient’s front door, that seems doable either though GPS on a user’s phone or QR codes placed on doors.
On it’s face, this is a really cool idea. Not only could robots enter a building and take the elevator on its own, but food orders in the same building could be clustered so robots could make multiple deliveries with one trip.
But the bigger reason we’re highlighting this story is that it’s another example of automated systems starting to daisy chain with one another. We talked about this during our food robotics panel at our Smart Kitchen Summit last month. In that talk, we outlined scenarios where something like a Picnic robot makes a pizza, a Bear Robotics Servi bot brings that pizza out to a delivery bot like Kiwi, which the brings it out directly to a person.
In Woowa’s case, the connections are more software related, but it’s still all about bringing more automation to the meal journey. You could see similar functionality coming to the U.S., especially at college dorms and apartment buildings. This type of automated travel path could also spur more delivery cubbies like Minnow’s for buildings without an elevator. A robot could place the order inside a temperature controlled locker for the person to pick up when they are ready.
The point is that we are just scratching the surface of what robotic meal delivery is capable of. These types of interplay between automated services will only increase making our robot-powered future seem not that far off.