Korea-based Hyundai Motor Company announces the deployment of a new autonomous robotic sales associate in their Korea automotive showrooms. Hyundai made the headlines in late 2020 with the acquisition of mobile robotics company Boston Dynamics. This was the largest mobile robotic company acquisition of 2020.
Now, the company has announced that they are deploying a new customer service and sales assistant in their Korea automotive showrooms. The new mobile robot is called "DAL-e" (hint: rhymes with WALL-e).
DAL-e is an acronym for “Drive you, Assist you, Link with you-experience.” It is a custom-designed mobile robot with the intention of pioneering the future of automated customer services. DAL-e is equipped with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology for facial recognition as well as an automatic communication system based on a language-comprehension platform.
“DAL-e is a next-generation service platform that can offer automated customer services anytime. It is expected to become a messenger capable of delivering consistent messages to customers in a more intimate and personal way than conventional robots,” said Dong Jin Hyun, Vice President and Head of the Robotics Lab at Hyundai Motor Group. “With continuous updates and improvements, DAL-e will provide fresh, pleasant experiences to our valued customers in a contact-free environment. Our objective is to enable DAL-e to engage in a smooth and entertaining communication with customers and present valuable services to them.”
Hyundai Motor Group unveiled DAL-e at a Hyundai Motor showroom in southern Seoul. The robot will operate in this initial site while it continues to be upgraded and updated. As a closed BETA, the initial deployment provides an excellent testing ground for the new mobile robotic platform.
Following this initial pilot deployment, the company expects to launch DAL-e as a general purpose concierge and customer service platform by expanding to other showrooms of the Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation.
DAL-e features a truncated, humanoid-like body measuring 1,160 mm x 600 mm X 600 mm and weighing 80 kg. DAL-e is significantly lighter and more compact compared to other customer service and guide robots in the market. The robot features emotive arms and eyes that can help it to engage with customers.
The robot features a camera with AI-based facial recognition that can identify if a customer entering the room is wearing a mask or not. The robot can then gently remind the customer to put one on. The robot can also engage customers in a dialog and provide useful information on automotive products.
The robot features a "swerve drive" base that enables it to have omni-directional motion. The robot can also wirelessly connect to a larger display in the showroom to present product information, videos or display a map of the facility.
Hyundai Motor Group plans to continuously update the DAL-e based on data from pilot operations, perfecting its operational capabilities as an advanced android robot.
This announcement is likely the first of many to come, as Hyundai continues to develop and deploy new service robotics solutions. The addition of Boston Dynamics to the Hyundai family will only add to the increasing complexity and capability of future Hyundai robotics ventures.