Woowa's food delivery robot deployed for first outdoor commercial service at lake-side public park

By Lim Chang-won Posted : September 20, 2022, 09:48 Updated : September 20, 2022, 09:48

[Courtesy of Woowa Brothers]

SEOUL -- Woowa Brothers, the operator of South Korea's top food delivery service Baedal Minjok, has launched an outdoor food delivery service using self-driving robots at a lake-side public park. It marked the company's first outdoor commercial service using food delivery robots after the government eased tight regulations to expedite the popularization of robots.

Woowa has developed Dilly, a lineup of serving and food delivery robots. Serving and food delivery robots have been deployed in controlled environments, while the operation of outdoor self-driving robots has been allowed only for demonstration or in special regulatory zones as South Korea maintains tight guidelines on robots that can travel in urban streets.

Some Dilly models communicate with elevators so that they can move up and down floors. Dilly was put to a pilot outdoor food delivery service only within an apartment complex in Suwon, south of Seoul, in August 2020 to carry food from nearby restaurants to the entrance of an apartment building. 

At a public park in Suwon, Dilly was deployed for commercial service to deliver food in 15 minutes even from about 600 meters away from 14 nearby stores. After scanning QR codes placed throughout the park, visitors can order and receive food using their smartphone apps. 

The level of network communication technology has been raised so that delivery robots can drive smoothly without losing communication. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Woowa said it would extend operating hours to the evening time later and gradually expand the distance of delivery.

"Short-range robot delivery will be an opportunity to create new demand for store owners, and customers will be able to feel a new and high-quality service experience outdoors," Woowa's robot delivery service head Kim Yo-seob said in a statement on September 20.

For door-to-door robot food delivery, Woowa has used internet of things technology to communicate with security doors, elevators and other facilities to freely roam about an apartment complex to deliver food.

Dilly Tower, an indoor food delivery robot capable of traveling between floors through elevators, delivers drinks and snacks inside high-rise office buildings. Dilly Tower can move 1.2 meters per second, overcome up to 2.2 centimeters of a raised spot and automatically slow down in narrow passages or on uneven roads. The battery lasts six hours.

Woowa aims to introduce a new delivery robot that combines indoor and outdoor driving with floor-to-floor movement technology. The company's final goal is to produce robots capable of roaming freely through crowded urban streets.

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