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South Korea’s KT Corp. expands AI robotics with intro of robot food server in Seoul

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, South Korea’s largest telecommunications company KT Corp. unveiled a smart robot food server at the Seoul franchise of restaurant chain Mad for Garlic.

KT’s Institute of Convergence Technology leveraged AI technology in building the robot and developing the software that enables the robot to navigate the restaurant and perform tasks of food server. The robot is also equipped with 3D spatial mapping and self-driving software.

In March, Ku Hyeon-Mo took over the reins of KT Corp as CEO. Among the initiatives and priorities of the firm is to develop AI robots as part of the efforts to “transform itself into the world’s No. 1 ICT platform company.” In 2018, the firm offered AI-assisted room services at Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences, owned by its subsidiary, KT Real Estate Inc.

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“KT is bringing AI closer to the lives of our customers with the release of its first hotel robots last year, second-generation hotel robots this year, and now a new AI serving robot developed for the food and beverage business area,” Kim Chae-Hee, head of KT’s AI/Big Data business division, said in the media advisory. “We will continue to contribute to improving their quality of life with our advanced AI and Big Data technologies.”

The AI robot server is 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) and powered by a battery. KT Corp. said the design emphasizes stability as the robot moves at up to 1.5 meters per second carrying four fully loaded trays and little vibration when stopping to prevent spills.

5G

KT introduced its commercial 5G network service through an AI-equipped robot named Lota in December 2018 before launching the world’s first nationwide 5G network in March 2019. It is also deploying autonomous carts using 5G connectivity at its smartphone warehouses starting May.

KT began to commercialize its AI robotics segment with its GiGA Genie Hotel service robots in December 2019. A second-generation GiGA Genie Hotel with enhanced capabilities and functions went into service in April this year. GiGA Genie Hotel is a multi-functional, voice-recognizing infotainment system capable of smart room controls and delivery of toiletries and other supplies. It is a customization of GiGA Genie, the world’s first AI-powered smart home media hub developed by KT.

The second-generation GiGA Genie Hotel, dubbed “N Bot,” is an upgrade in design and function. The AI robot can operate in both Korean and English for items such as towels and bottled water and get on and off elevators on its own for room deliveries. Other languages, including Chinese and Japanese, will be added.