Hyundai Motors announced that they are partnering with Woowa Brothers, the creator of South Korea’s most popular delivery app Baedal Minjok. Hyundai will design and produce an autonomous delivery mobile robot for Woowa. In fact, this is just the latest technology announcement by Woowa Brothers as they attempt to automate food delivery. The company has engaged in multiple technology partnerships since 2018 to find a capable autonomous solution. However, Hyundai is the largest partner to date, and may just have the right combination of technology and capability to produce a viable solution.
Hyundai recently acquired controlling interest in Boston Dynamics from Softbank in one of the biggest acquisitions of 2020. Hyundai has also made several announcements over the last six months related to new Hyundai-branded autonomous mobile robot solutions. All of this points to a dedicated interest by Hyundai in dominating the world of mobile robotics. Now it appears that last-mile delivery is also on their roadmap. Hyundai envisions robotics accounting for 20% of its future business, with autos making up half and urban air mobility 30%.
The two companies have a vision of creating a delivery solution that can connect to any residential elevator system (no easy feat) and be able to deliver food door-to-door for customers in South Korea. The solution will have to manage the delivery tasks of multiple robots in a given region of a city.
Woowa’s expertise is in app development, not robotics, although the company has already launched trials of its own self-driving delivery robots on public roads. The current Woowa robot, can travel at speeds up to 6 kph while avoiding obstacles, but it can only make the food exchange on the street/sidewalk. The company wants a more capable solution and using Hyundai’s technology will enable Woowa to roll out the service more widely.