Development of a domestic low-end serving robot to relieve manpower shortage and improve service quality.
Non-face-to-face service that opens a new daily life the people has begun.
Even when COVID-19 caused confusion all over the world, hoarding did not take place only in Korea thanks to its innovative delivery system. Furthermore, the remaining vaccine reservation system developed by the government and private companies confirmed Korea’s high IT infrastructure, and contact-free technologies such as artificial intelligence, delivery and quarantine robots, and IoT-based living platforms made Korea a quarantine-advanced country. The Korean government is focusing on expanding contact-free services for our daily lives. Through this, it plans to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and secure a leading position in the global contact-free service market in line with the era of digital transformation.
The National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) and Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) are discovering and expanding contact-free services for day-to-day life so that people can protect their daily lives from COVID-19 and enhance economic vitality. Main services include contact-free evaluation, safe touch, which is responsive to infectious diseases, smart mental care, infectious disease response robots, advanced lifestyle platform services, leisure, and home fitness platforms, and last-mile robot delivery. Among them, the “Serving Robot-based Smart Restaurant Service linked to POS” project, discovered in the field of “Last Mile Robot Delivery,” has been carried out by Kosturn, the performing organization, and ARDENT ROBOT, the participating organization.
According to an analysis of the “Status of Survival Rate of Start-ups” conducted by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in 2019, 81.1% of the lodging and restaurant businesses closed their businesses in their fifth year. Considering that it was before the outbreak of COVID-19, the closure rate of the industry is expected to be higher. The economic recession will be major in this background, but problems such as manpower shortages due to the minimum hourly wage for employees and language barriers caused by foreign workers, and poor service quality also play a major role. To solve this problem, the introduction of serving robots is actively taking place in Korea, but most of the serving robots introduced in Korea are made up of foreign products such as China due to their price competitiveness.
Although electronic menus were introduced due to the smartization of serving tasks, they were not linked to POS (Point of Sale), so a separate order reception terminal was required to be re-entered to POS. In addition, a separate process is required to enter the order printed after delivery into POS after cooking in the kitchen, and it is cumbersome for people to enter table information separately to send the robot to the target table. To solve this problem, Kosturn and ARDENT ROBOT connected electronic tablets ordered by customers, kitchen monitors for chefs to check kitchen details, and an average POS for transactions. The “Serving Robot-based Smart Restaurant Service” is a system that serves food quickly and accurately by linking an automatic delivery system that delivers cooked food by connecting additional electronic tablets for ordering to the existing POS.
The contact-free society triggered by COVID-19 surged the demand for serving robots. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the global service robot market doubled from $8.64 billion (about 10.63 trillion won) in 2017 to $17.2 billion (about 21.17 trillion won) in 2019. In particular, as the era of robots is advanced due to COVID-19, some predict that the service robot market to which serving robots belong will grow to between $40 billion and $50 billion (about 49.2 trillion won and 61.5 trillion won) in 2022. Among service robots, serving robots are expected to have the highest growth potential. Considering that the restaurant market is a large market worth more than $50 billion (55 trillion won), the need to focus on the market increases as strengthening the competitiveness of domestic serving robots can also lead to expansion of entry into the export market.
Jong-ha Hong, Director of the Kosturn Technology Research Institute, said, “The recently developed domestic serving robot is not only excellent in quality but also in price competitiveness compared to low-cost serving robots in China.”, In the future, we plan to continuously reflect user requirements to upgrade functions and increase completeness, and expand our sales channels not only in Korea but also in exports, they said. Before providing full-fledged services, the Serving Robot-based Smart Restaurant Service linked to POS also served as a transport robot for delivering plaque at the 2021 CHO-A Pharm. Pro Baseball Grand Prize on December 8.
Kosturn, the organizer of the project, is a specialized company that builds a smart restaurant system by developing new products that combine IoT such as automatic order, automatic delivery, and POS. In this project, it was in charge of designing products linked to the communication of existing SSyung Car-based smart restaurant systems, manufacturing product molds, and marketing. Furthermore, industrial robot manufacturer ARDENT ROBOT was in charge of upgrading ROS-based Kosturn robots and developing POS-linked communication protocols in this project.