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Telcos develop autonomous robots in fight against pandemic

10:58 September 03, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean telecom operators are expanding collaborations to develop robot-based services that counter the COVID-19 pandemic, industry officials said Thursday, as businesses and establishments seek to limit face-to-face contact to reduce the risk of infection.

LG Uplus Corp., the country's No. 3 mobile carrier, said it has partnered with robotics firm FutureRobot Co. and facial recognition service developer Neton to develop a 5G-powered robot to be used for preventative measures against the virus.

The three companies target deploying the autonomous robot in buildings to check whether passersby are properly wearing masks and detect their body temperatures, according to a statement from LG Uplus.

The robot employs facial recognition technology that can scan multiple faces simultaneously and automatically sends an alert when it detects a body temperature higher than 37.5 C.

LG Uplus Corp.'s robot co-developed by robotics firm FutureRobot Co. and facial recognition technology developer Neton checks a model's temperature and whether she is properly wearing a mask in this photo provided by the company on Sept. 3, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

LG Uplus said the robot is able to provide a live video feed to its operators and can be remotely controlled through a high-speed 5G network.

The robot will undergo testing from this month at H Plus Yangji Hospital in the southern ward of Gwanak in the capital before a wider rollout.

The country's top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. also developed a similar robot for anti-infection measures earlier this year by partnering with factory automation firm Omron Electronics Korea Co. The robot is currently deployed at the mobile carrier's headquarters building in central Seoul.

Telecom operator KT Corp. has partnered with local restaurant franchise operator MFG Korea to test its artificial intelligence-powered server robot at a restaurant in southern Seoul.

The robot is able to roam around the restaurant and serve patrons with dishes autonomously through its 3D spatial mapping technology, and it will be updated based on its performance at the restaurant, according to a statement from KT.

The telecom operator said it expects the service to become popular, considering the non-contact trend driven by the pandemic.

KT Corp.'s artificial intelligence-powered robot takes food and drinks to a table at a Mad for Garlic restaurant in southern Seoul, in this photo provided by the company on Sept. 1, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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