Various types of delivery robots have been commercialized in South Korea over the past five years but they are mainly designed for indoor operations. Robots would stand by at a charging port and move to a store to pick up packages before they head to their destinations which are normally office cubicles or apartment studios.
However, the commercialization of autonomous robots that operate in outdoor environments is yet to be carried out. It is because of complex safety standards and regulations that limit the operation of delivery robots in crowded outdoor areas. 7-Eleven carried out two outdoor demonstrations for delivery robots in Southern Seoul in 2021 and 2022.
7-Eleven said that the company and Neubility, a domestic autonomous robot startup, will start the demonstration of delivery robots at the Konkuk University campus in eastern Seoul and Bangbae in southern Seoul. Through previous tests, a robot was designated to a store but the new demonstration will test to see if robots can be shared by multiple 7-Eleven stores that are nearby. In Bangbae, a total of five delivery robots will be tested.
For customers making orders inside Konkuk University's campus, a delivery fee of 1,000 won ($0.78) will be charged per order. 3,000 will be charged for delivery orders in the Bangbae area. Customers in Bangbae will be able to redeem their delivery fees through digital cash that can be used like cash through 7-Eleven stores.
"Expectations on delivery robots are rising as the importance of nearby convenience store delivery service has increased through the pandemic," 7-Eleven's digital transformation innovation division head Lee Yun-ho said in a statement on June 18. Lee said that a robot delivery network system will be established to help customers and store operators.
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