SEOUL -- Woowa Brothers, the operator of South Korea's top food delivery service, forged a strategic partnership with a life care platform company with a nationwide business network to expedite the popularization of its six-wheeled "Dilly" serving robots that deliver food or drinks to the table of customers at restaurants and cafes.
Using its serving robot called "Dilly Plate" that can take evasive action when it approaches a customer or obstacles, Woowa has tried to attract clients with a rental program and customized services. Different models have been deployed at restaurants to create an environment where restaurants can concentrate on improving services and increasing the efficiency of operation.
The partnership with SK Shildus affiliated with South Korea's SK Group would help Woowa expand its serving robot rental business, which began in November 2019 and upgrade robot installation and maintenance. At the end of 2021, Woowa supplied 630 serving robots to 500 places.
Woowa will introduce a new serving robot called Dilly S, which improved performance and increased stability by applying suspensions. Dilly S has excellent obstacle avoidance ability by using laser, radar and cameras. It is equipped with a reception function and a 10.1-inch touch screen to inform its direction in advance.
Woowa said that the demand for serving robots would expand significantly to various fields as SK Shieldus has various types of customers from government agencies and public enterprises to companies.
Woowa will be in charge of robot installation, after-service and technical support. "I hope this partnership will serve as an opportunity for robots to be used in various places beyond restaurants and cafes," Woowa CEO Kim Beom-jun said in a statement on February 21.
SK Shieldus will carry out customer-related tasks such as sales, counseling, and contracts. "We will expand new big-tech-based business models, including robots, throughout life care by entering various fields using robots," SK Shieldus CEO Park Jin-hyo was quoted as saying.
Woowa has focused on the development of serving and food delivery robots that have been deployed in controlled environments. Some Dilly models communicate with elevators so that they can move up and down floors. Dilly was put to an actual outdoor food delivery service at an apartment complex in Suwon in August 2020 to carry food from a nearby restaurant to the entrance of an apartment building.
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 will be deployed at Incheon International Airport, which is South Korea's main gateway west of Seoul, for a pilot operation in the second half of 2022.
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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