[BLT Insight]Logistics robot technology in Korea

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The era of expensive human labor. Logistics sites are facing hiring difficulties. Currently operating logistics centers rely on human workforce. Such human-dependent logistics is declining, with small and medium-sized logistics centers operating at only 50-70% capacity, far below the normal 80% level. While large companies are able to hire workers based on high wages, small and medium-sized logistics centers are struggling to recruit employees.


[Image] Examples of hiring difficulties at logistics sites  


In this environment, companies are accelerating logistics automation by introducing logistics robots. CJ Logistics has jointly developed a system with LG Electronics that utilizes autonomous driving transport robot technology to locate, pick, pack, and ship products. The developed logistics robots will be deployed at fulfillment centers. Coupang is also introducing automated sorting systems, expanding conveyor belts, and optimizing work flows using AI as part of its smart logistics initiatives. In particular, Coupang is investing over 500 billion won to apply robotic automation technologies. Thus, introducing robots and automation in logistics is becoming a necessity, not a choice.


[Image] Examples of logistics robot adoption by CJ Logistics and Coupang


Domestic companies are also actively advancing into this field. Omullet Co., Ltd. (CEO Park Jin-gyu), a domestic logistics robot solution company, has successfully attracted investment (Seed, undisclosed amount) due to its recognized technological capabilities. Omullet Co., Ltd. has developed an AI optimization solver that automatically solves complex decision-making problems for logistics robot solutions. The AI solver can determine task processing order for transportation routes, facility operations, and resource allocation. This AI solver has proven its technological capabilities by being applied to current logistics system operations and unmanned autonomous robots in factories. Based on this investment, Omullet Co., Ltd. plans to launch OaaSIS (Optimization as a Service·Infra·System), a logistics delivery optimization software that can optimize task assignment and order for logistics delivery.


[Image] Example of AI-based logistics robot solution by Omullet Co., Ltd.


Twinny Co., Ltd. (CEOs Chun Hong-seok, Chun Young-seok), a domestic logistics robot company, is actively developing logistics robot technologies. Twinny's autonomous driving robot 'Nargo' is suitable for automating logistics transportation tasks on-site instead of relying on human workforce. Recently, they have developed self-navigation guidance devices that can operate in complex environments, enabling autonomous driving technology suitable for industrial settings with many obstacles. Additionally, XYZ Robotics Co., Ltd. (CEO Choi Won-seok) is also actively developing logistics robot technologies. XYZ Robotics is developing logistics robots for manual labor tasks (loading/unloading) that require pure human labor. These manual labor robots can be applied to loading/unloading operations that previously posed injury risks to workers and suffered from low efficiency due to spatial constraints and high-intensity labor. Thus, the development of logistics robots is active.

[Image] Examples of order picking logistics robot by Twinny Co., Ltd.

[Image] Examples of loading/unloading logistics robot by XYZ Robotics Co., Ltd.  


The BLT Research Center predicts, "The AI-based logistics robot solution market is expected to experience dramatic growth. These technological changes will present new opportunities for companies to develop related technologies." They added, "Securing rights to various application technologies for AI-based logistics robot solutions is expected to be a good strategy."


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