Interview video of Cheon Young-seok, CEO of Twinny | Filmed and edited by AVING News
“The US already uses robots for logistics. Korea might have a late start, but its autonomous driving technology is not behind at all. Twinny can be used in wide and complex environments, so its potential to be the top robot in the global market is high!”
AVING News met Cheon Young-seok, CEO of Twinny at KOREA MAT 2021 & ICPI WEEK 2021 held at KINTEX on May 27. He was full of confidence throughout the interview.
He answered over 10 questions without hesitation. He was that much into his company and the brand. Also as the head of the company that has more than 90 employees, he was present at the exhibition booth to welcome every person who visited the booth.
In this exhibition, Twinny showcased both NarGo and TarGo, its flagship models. Since the incorporation in 2015, the autonomous robot company Twinny currently has about 90 employees, and two-thirds of the researchers have doctorate or master’s degree from KAIST. Its flagship autonomous robots are NarGo 100, Nargo 60, and Nargo 500. And, also with TarGo 100 and TarGo 300, the object-tracking robots that follow people, it is leading the autonomous robot market in Korea.
Recently, the company has made its autonomous robots more useful by developing its robot platform TARP and TARAS service. For reference, TARAS is a multi-robot allocation system which provides the most optimized robot service that automatically finds the location and delivers goods.
At the KOREA PACK Special & ICPI WEEK 2021 exhibition hall, AVING News met Twinny’s CEO Cheon Young-seok for an interview.
Q1. What made you focus on autonomous logistics robots?
There are various fields in which autonomous robots can be used, such as security, logistics, and cleaning. Among them, I thought hard where to use our autonomous driving technology. And, we entered the logistics market, which was the largest. Even when looking at the potential for future growth, I thought this was where we could best utilize the autonomous robots.
Q2. The product names NarGo and TarGo seem to be intuitive and unique. Who and how did you decide the product name?
Our product names are NarGo, TarGo, and MoiGo, and they come from our employees. Our employees agreed on NarGo first because they are the robots used in logistics, and I got the idea to name the tracking robot from there. I named it TarGo. My employees liked the name very much, so I decided on that name.
Q3. Introduction of flagship products presented at this exhibition
Twinny’s flagship products presented at this exhibition are the autonomous driving robot NarGo and the object-tracking robot TarGo series.
The NarGo Series has the autonomous driving feature with only the sensor from the robot itself without stepping on a QR code on the floor or attaching a reflector to the ceiling in a wide and complex environment.
In general, in places like factories, if you use markers, they can move accurately, but it is also inconvenient in other ways. This is especially true in places where environmental changes are frequent. NarGo can be used in places where there are no infrastructure, and we named the robots based on the maximum load weight, so there are NarGo 60, NarGo 100, and NarGo 500. Above all, NarGo 500 is an autonomous robot with a special function that can lift and transport pallets by itself.
TarGo is an object-tracking robot that follow the objects by identifying the characteristics of the objects even without a separate device. At this exhibition, Twinny showcased TarGo 100 that can lift up to 100kg.
Q4. It seems that the autonomous robot should be able to control both hardware and software to maximize efficiency. So, I think this is why TARP and TARAS are receiving more attention. Can you elaborate more on this?
The advantage of Twinny robots is that they have excellent autonomous driving software technology. Not only that, it is also directly producing robot hardware by using software. It also received good response by creating the TARAS app that controls the robot and provides services.
It is difficult to customize imported robot products. But, Twinny’s robots can be customized to meet the diverse needs of customers by combining the autonomous driving software to various hardware and TARAS.
Q5. What is the (major) target market for Twinny’s autonomous robots?
This year’s main target areas are hospitals, logistics centers, factories, and package delivery services. There have been many issues these days due to the package delivery services, and Twinny has been making package transport robots to solve the delivery problem since the beginning of last year. We are also planning to showcase the autonomous robots that can deliver the packages from the entrance of the apartment complex to the homes in Sejong-si in the second half of this year.
Q6. How far do you think the Korean autonomous robot technology has come compared to robots from other parts of the world?
In the US, logistics robots are commercially available. Korean companies have entered this market late, but in terms of autonomous driving technology, it does not fall behind compared to the US.
Especially, Twinny’s technology boasts outstanding technological prowess that does not lag behind any other company in the US. We have the technology in autonomous driving in the wide and complicated environment, so we are expecting to stand higher in the global market.
Q7. It seems that is an area that desperately needs government support. What kind of support and measures do you think can support the Korean robot market better?
Autonomous robots are still unfamiliar to the general public. There are people who know about it, but since most of them have not used it, they don’t know how to maximize the efficiency. Therefore, it is also a very difficult field to attract potential consumers.
If the government provides an opportunity to first use and demonstrate in the initial market, the robot market in Korea can be further expanded. Based on this, I believe that autonomous robot companies can grow rapidly, and also become competitive in the global market.
Q8. What are Twinny’s plans for overseas expansion?
We introduced the robot for the first time last year, and unfortunately, it fits perfectly with the COVID-19 pandemic. So, until two years ago, we stopped making the effort to enter the overseas market. We have started communicating with overseas buyers again this year, and expect to have the first exports soon. Currently, the countries we are expecting to export to are Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
Q9. Recently, autonomous robots that can do various tasks are being released. Does Twinny have any plans to expand into robotics other than logistics?
Twinny can provide various services based on various autonomous driving technologies. First of all, by upgrading the transport features, we are going to make robots that can carry people.
Further, we are going to apply other methods to logistics to add additional features like four-wheel drive, drones, and flying to expand the market. In the long run, we also plan to incorporate Twinny’s autonomous driving technology into cars.
Q10. What are your plans for the future?
Twinny is a very small company that is trying to evolve from a startup with the autonomous robot technology. We are very proud of our technology. Also, I think our core competencies are what we should focus on right now.
Next, we are planning to focus on autonomous driving technology and grow by creating a cooperative ecosystem with many partner companies for commercialization. Through this, if Twinny’s autonomous robot software technology is widely used in the global market, it will provide an opportunity to approach the world’s leading autonomous robot company one step closer.
Before the opening of KOREA PACK 2021, an online exhibition hall service where visitors can see exhibitors’ products was unveiled on May 17 (Mon). This online exhibition hall was designed for overseas buyers who cannot enter Korea due to COVID pandemic and Korean SMEs having difficulty entering overseas. The organizer is supporting export channels by holding the first online export consultation at the KINTEX from May 25 to 28 for Korean exhibitors and overseas buyers that have been matched.
Hosted by Kyongyon Exhibition Co., Korea Packaging Machinery Association, KIP, and PackNet, the items exhibited at KOREA PACK Special and ICPI WEEK 2021 are as follows. △Packaging machine △Packaging material △Packaging label/digital printing △Packaging robot △Pharmaceutical/cosmetic related machinery △Food related machinery △Package design △Packaging plant engineering system