Open the elevator door… Nowadays, Naver robots serve hamburgers.

Dozens of delivery robots called ‘rookies’ are the busiest in the second new office building next to Naver’s Green Factory headquarters in Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, every day between 3 and 4 pm. This is because the orders placed by the employees on their mobile devices are flooding. Rookies load parcels, drinks and food on their torso, ride the robot elevator (Roboport) and walk from the 7th to the 27th floor, delivering parcels to the workers’ seats. An official from Naver said, “The lunchbox delivery service that started last summer has the most orders for burgers.” “Robots are blending into our everyday lives.”

Naver is accelerating its robot business. After completing the second office building this year as a robot-friendly building, Naver has been using robots it has been researching and developing throughout the company. The first time a robot appeared on Naver was five years after the company established Naver Labs, a robot development affiliate, in 2017. According to the information technology (IT) industry on the 3rd, the number of rookie deliveries that Naver given to their second office building since July exceeded 2,000. A simple calculation means that the rookie spends an average of 40 delivery services every day. A Naver official said, “The number of usage of rookies is increasing rapidly.”

Rookie is the first robot to debut in the Naver office building. Naver built the first 5G (5th generation) mobile communication network for the first time in a domestic company to operate and learn multiple robots, including up to 100 rookies, at the same time in its new office building, and upload eyes and the eyes of the robots. brain functions to the cloud. As a result, the robot can be remotely controlled or improved according to the situation, and can be assigned to various roles. This means that the rookie delivers during the day, but can be vigilant at night.

He is also working hard to develop a two-armed robot. The strength of Naver’s two-armed robot, Ambidex, is that it is as light as a human arm. When lifting the same load, the NAVER LABS robot arm weighs about 3.5 to 5 kg, while other companies’ robot arms are three times heavier. Ambidex also learns human motor intelligence so it can perform complex tasks. Next year, we plan to do an internal test as a rookie. If Ambidex ensures technology and versatility, it is expected that it will be able to replace the time- and labor-consuming packaging work in the logistics center. Naver also introduced a drawing robot (Arto One). Arto-One draws on a slippery liquid crystal surface while holding a tablet pencil and adjusts force, speed and angle like a human. This is possible because it stores thousands of drawing skills in the cloud and continues to learn them.

NAVER LABS, together with NAVER LABS Europe, also jumped into the development of intelligence, the king of robots. Naver Labs Europe is an AI research organization created by Naver through the acquisition of Xerox Research Center Europe in 2017 to establish a European research base. Naver Labs Senior Leader Inhyuk Kim said, “Top-notch researchers at Naver Labs Europe, such as computer vision and natural language processing, are developing new AI for robots. We are thinking about how to implement it.” “We will show meaningful possibilities within five years,” he said.

This is similar to a robot being developed by Google. In August, ‘Everyday Robot’, a robot development company independent of Google’s parent company Alphabet, demonstrated technology that uses AI technology to detect and act by robots that use AI technology. For example, if a user says, “I spilled my drink,” the robot throws away the empty bottle and picks up a wet towel from an array of cleaning tools.

NAVER LABS also introduced a mapping robot (M2), which is necessary for generating digital twin data that accurately reproduces real space in three dimensions, and an Air Cart, which is applied with wearable robot technology to improve strength the muscles.

Although the market for robots is bright due to population decline and an increase in non-face-to-face demand, it is expected that it will take time to fund them. Naver has invested tens of billions of earned money in the R&D of Naver Labs robots. Currently, the technology and research and development sector of the future, which includes NAVER LABS, has been in the red for several years. However, Naver’s idea is that if the solution developed and verified in the robot experiment using the second office building is seriously commercialized through the cloud, the performance will be greatly improved.

Kim said, “In the future, robots will be the medium that connects the world of the Internet and the physical environment.”

[임영신 기자]
[ⓒ 매일경제 &, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]

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