A salesclerk of GS Retail loads a delivery robot with products at the company’s convenience store in western Seoul. Photo courtesy of GS Retail

Korean companies introduce delivery service robots

Everything has a flip side. Even the novel coronavirus leads to some exciting results _ a mounting number of South Korean companies come up with futuristic robots.

GS Retail said this week that it will embark on robotic delivery services at its store in Seoul. It is an operator of the GS 25 convenience store, one of the market leaders.

When the store receives an order through the KakaoTalk instant messaging service, a clerk will put products at the drawers of the 4.3-foot-tall robot and input the destination information.

Then the robot, which is the Korean version of Amazon Scout, will carry them on its own to the customer, who can receive products after typing a pin code.

Just before its arrival, the robot will let the customer know through the mobile phone.

GS Retail said that the robot has three drawers, which can hold up to 15 kilograms of products. It is also armed with a security system to prevent loss or robbery.

The Seoul-based company plans to install the delivery service robots in its other stores next year.

Many others are taking similar strategies as COVID-19 makes face-to-face contact difficult. Plus, the government continues to recommend social distancing to prevent the rapid spread of the virus.

Domestic contractor Samsung C&T and discount chain E-Mart also showcased their delivery or logistics robots. Delivery app company Baedal Minjok followed suit.

GS Retail’s sister company GS Caltex mulls beginning drone delivery services at the oil refiner’s gas station. The outfit now strives to garner the government’s green light.

According to a recent report of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, more and more big-sized corporations and start-ups will adopt delivery robots.