South Korea's food delivery industry based on deliverymen using motorcycles witnessed a technical renaissance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted people to avoid crowded places. Consumers stranded at home sought happiness from delivered foods and home-alone drinking parties.
Food delivery service operators and tech companies are now locked in a race to attract customers with new digital tools and services using robots and drones as well as quick grocery delivery. However, there are no proper guidelines and standards for technical development and commercialization.
Woowa said in a statement on December 1 that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Robot Industry Promotion Agency (KIRIA), a state agency in charge of standardization, to participate in the development of standards and guidelines for service and delivery robots.
Woowa has led the commercialization of delivery robots to provide services in the so-called "non-contact" method which is designed to minimize human-to-human contact. Customers feel secure because they do not have to meet deliverymen face-to-face. However, commercialization has yet to overcome legal and technical obstacles. Robot makers use different communication methods for models capable of traveling between floors.
Woowa and KIRIA will work together to develop standards for interworking technology that allows robots to use different elevators. Woowa will participate in safety tests using Dilly, a lineup of delivery robots designed to carry food and groceries. KIRIA will provide operational data so that Woowa can upgrade services.
KIRIA will evaluate Dilly Drive, a box-shaped six-wheeler version of Woowa's delivery robot being tested inside an office and residential new town district in Suwon south of Seoul. Woowa said that if its robot passes KIRIA's safety evaluation, the commercialization of delivery robots will be accelerated.
"Through this partnership, we will strengthen our robot delivery service technology and contribute to the vitalization of the industry by making positive changes to related policies and regulations," Woowa CEO Kim Beom-jun said.
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