Hyundai tests autonomous delivery robots

  • January 10, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Hyundai has started two pilot delivery service programmes using autonomous robots based on its Plug & Drive (PnD) modular platform at a hotel and a residential-commercial complex in the outskirts of Seoul.

The delivery robot consists of a storage unit integrated on top of a PnD driving unit. Alongside the loading box used to deliver items, a connected screen displays information for customers.

First shown at CES 2022, the PnD modular platform is an all-in-one single wheel unit that combines intelligent steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive and suspension hardware, including a steering actuator for 360-degree, holonomic rotation. It moves autonomously with the aid of lidar and camera sensors. An integrated storage unit allows the robot to transport products to customers.

By adding the autonomous driving capability, the robot can find the optimal route within the area to deliver packages to recipients. It can recognise and avoid fixed and moving objects and drive smoothly, providing a fast delivery time.

“PnD-based delivery robots allow quicker delivery times with improved safety through the use of autonomous driving technology, including fast obstacle avoidance capabilities,” said Dong Jin Hyun, head of robotics for Hyundai Motor. “We plan to keep upgrading mobility services, convenience, safety and affordability for customers through our pilot programmes.”

Deep-learning technology helps the robot recognise customers; autonomous driving technology and connectivity with elevators enables movement between floors without human help.

The group also plans pilot outdoor delivery services within a residential and commercial complex through a partnership with Korean delivery company Woowa Brothers.

A food delivery service robot is planned to pick up restaurant orders made by customers through an application and deliver the orders to customers’ doors.

Based on the pilot programme results, Hyundai says it will expand the use and operating hours as well as the number of robots.