Hyundai Motor Group has started two pilot delivery service programs using autonomous robots based on its Plug & Drive (PnD) modular platform at a hotel and a residential-commercial complex located on the outskirts of Seoul.
The hotel delivery robot consists of a secure storage unit integrated on top of a PnD driving unit. The robot also includes a connected screen that displays information for customers. The system employs a vision camera to identify when the patron is a child and can change the interaction script accordingly.
The concept delivery robot was first shown at CES 2022 and leverages the PnD modular platform for drive control. The PnD is an all-in-one, swerve drive, single-wheel unit that combines intelligent steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive and suspension hardware, including a steering actuator for omnidirectional motion. It moves autonomously with the aid of LiDAR and camera sensors.
The unit is fully autonomous and can plan the ideal path from pickup to drop-off at the patron’s hotel door. The system avoids any obstacle in its path.
“PnD-based delivery robots allow quicker delivery times with improved safety through the use of autonomous driving technology, including fast obstacle avoidance capabilities,” said Dong Jin Hyun, Head of Robotics LAB of Hyundai Motor Group. “We plan to keep upgrading mobility services, convenience, safety and affordability for customers through our pilot programs.”
Elevator integration remains the big hurdle for hotel delivery robots
Hyundai claims that it has direct elevator control by communicating directly with the elevator server. Hyundai is also an elevator manufacturer, which gives it an advantage over any other independent autonomous delivery robots, as we learned from a recent podcast interview with Relay Robotics CTO and cofounder Steve Cousins.
The integration and communication with an elevator server are not the main hurdles to deploying hotel delivery robots, the real hurdle is complying with local county fire regulations and elevator control laws. Each county in the USA has different regulations, the result of which is an undeterminable project plan to complete the integration. Each hotel deployment will be a unique elevator integration project.
In facilities that use Hyundai elevators in South Korea and other countries, the elevator issues may be less problematic for Hyundai than in the USA.