Recent reports say that South Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai Motor will partner with Woowa Brothers, the nation's top Uber Eats-style app, to develop robots that can carry meals from restaurant kitchens to customers' front door.
"Woowa has already launched trials of its own self-driving delivery robots on public roads," reports Nikkei Asia. "The boxy robot, which can travel at about 5kph to 6kph and avoid obstacles, uses smartphone location tracking to find the customer who placed a given order. The customer can then confirm their identity via a mobile device to unlock the robot and retrieve the food."
According to The Korea Economic Daily, the "immediate goal is to develop a last-mile delivery robot that can deliver food and other goods from the entrance of an apartment complex to the front door of a particular household. And eventually, both sides aim to build a completely autonomous robotic delivery system, in which a robot can move independently from a transportation hub or restaurant to its final destination."
“The need for robot delivery services is rapidly growing in the contactless era. Our cooperation in this area will contribute to the advancement of a human-centered mobility service,” Hyundai said in a statement.
Apparently, this partnership is part of a greater plan on Hyundai's part to diversify its operations. Hyundai Motor has said it will invest up to 1.5 trillion won ($1.4 billion) in robotics by 2025.
Chairman Chung Euisun has publicly said that robotics will account for 20% of the group's future business, with automobiles taking up half of its sales, followed by urban air mobility (UAM) at 30%.