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CES 2024: Diligent stair-climbing delivery bot enhances urban logistics

CES 2024: Diligent stair-climbing delivery bot enhances urban logistics
CES 2024: Diligent stair-climbing delivery bot enhances urban logistics

CES 2024 kicked off with a bang in Las Vegas, and it’s been one mind-boggling invention after the other on display since then. This week, the spotlight was on an array of technological marvels geared for the delivery and logistics industries. 

This year’s event is more than just an exhibitor’s dream stage, it’s a roadmap to a more connected and sustainable future in mobility, transportation and logistics. 

Delivery bot reaches new heights at CES 2024

Robotic startup Mobinn showcased a trailblazing delivery bot, equipped with flexible wheels to easily navigate its way up and down a flight of stairs. The bot is semi-autonomous, meaning it can be manually controlled but it has sensors to enable self-driving navigation. 

Unlike humans who tire easily, the bot can climb stairs continuously for approximately 8 hours on a single charge. It also features an articulating frame and a tilting bed to prevent spillage when navigating uneven terrain. 

It sounds complex but the bot only has four motors, one at each wheel. Mobinn CEO Choi Jin says the company is working on a wheelchair too. For now, however, the delivery bot roams Korean streets. 

Acing the urban delivery test

Mobinn’s speed and efficiency was put to the test when CU – a South Korean convenience store chain under the BGF Retail umbrella – let it loose in an apartment complex in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, from April 3 to 23 last year. 

During that period, the diligent little robot carried out test deliveries for orders larger than 8,000 won ($6). It took the bot an average of 11 minutes to complete a delivery – approximately 20 minutes shorter than its human counterparts. 

Hong Won-jin, manager of the convenience store lab at BGF retail and CU, says retailers are excited about delivery robots. He said robot deliveries will “provide advanced and distinguished retail services.”

South Korea’s Intelligent Robots Act

The timing is perfect too as South Korea’s new Intelligent Robots Act went into effect in November 2023. Authorized autonomous robots are allowed to drive along sidewalks and among pedestrians. If a robot “jaywalks” or violates traffic laws, its operator will be fined. 

The Act aims to: 

  • Expand robot mobility.
  • Support development of robot services.
  • Accelerate robots’ entrance into the safety services market.
  • Expand shared infrastructure to usher in new robot businesses.

Korea’s ministry of trade, industry, and energy says the Act will boost the country’s high-tech robot industry while addressing productivity issues, shortages of personnel across several sectors, and even creating new industries. 

Going forward, robots will be able to work in environments considered too dangerous for humans. Patrol bots could be equipped with firefighting equipment. It could also carry out maritime operations like cleaning underwater oil spills and cleaning vessel hulls. 

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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