South Korean food tech firm Woowa Brothers is developing a food delivery robot with the goal to commercialise it within five years.
The robot, called Deli, short for delicious delivery, has been in development since last July with a team at Korea University.
Deli will be exhibited in action at a food mall in the city of Cheonan as early as May. It will deliver food to tables and retrieve finished dishes.
According to Woowa Brothers, its robot project will have three stage of development. The first is to develop a robot, like Deli, that can deliver food in indoor environments. The second is to develop a robot that can deliver food in compound environments with both indoor and outdoor settings, such as apartments.
The third stage will aim to make a robot that can use sidewalks and pavements to deliver food from the restaurant to the customer. The goal is to deploy the robots in harsh weather or delivery rush hours and deliver food to places that are unpopular with human delivery staff.
Woowa Brothers runs the Baedal Minjok food delivery app, South Korea’s counterpart to US’ GrubHub, and competes with local rival Yogiyo.
The company last year in March announced it would be investing in AI and robotics later that year. Woowa Brothers said demand for food delivery was exploding but that there were limited number of delivery people.
The firm received around $30 million in investment last October from South Korean search giant Naver, which is also developing its own robots, including an augmented strength cart.
South Korea exhibited a self-skating robot at the PyeongChang Winter Gameslast month.