Woowa Brothers Operate Self-Driving Delivery Robots with AWS Wavelength
Woowa Brothers designs software applications and mobile apps for food delivery in South Korea. The company operates the country’s largest food delivery app, Baedal Minjok (Baemin) and provides complementary services such as the Baemin Riders app.
Woowa Brothers aspires to be a comprehensive food technology company and is currently planning expansion into international markets and new business verticals. The company is actively investing in cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and autonomous robotics. In 2019, Woowa Brothers developed a self-driving delivery robot called Dilly Drive for indoor and outdoor use. Dilly Drive launched on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud in partnership with SK Telecom, an AWS Partner.
AWS Wavelength provides ultra-low latency, which allows our robots to register surrounding information in near real-time without delays. This helps us build a safer robot delivery service.”
Head of Robot Business, Woowa Brothers
The Dilly Drive robot service addresses consumers’ demand for short-distance deliveries, for which it’s often difficult to secure a delivery driver. In November 2019, Woowa Brothers began testing the Dilly Drive service on Konkuk University’s campus in Seoul. This pilot study demonstrated how an unmanned delivery service could fulfill food orders from the Baedal Minjok app.
The key takeaway from the pilot was that controlling robots in outdoor environments presented a significantly higher technical barrier than controlling them indoors. A multitude of factors could hinder robot operations, including severe weather and road conditions or unexpected encounters. Precise technology and service expertise were necessary to commercialize Dilly Drive. After pilot teams fulfilled more than 3,000 orders and logged 1,250 kilometers with the robots, Woowa Brothers was ready to test the service with the public.
“The Dilly Drive pilot provided an opportunity to analyze any implementation issues and improve our robotic offering. We realized that we required a remote management system for safe driving. As such, we implemented SK Telecom’s 5G mobile edge computing to ensure real-time responses to situations encountered by the robots—such as avoiding obstacles to safely deliver food to customers,” explained Kim Yo-seop, head of Robot Business at Woowa Brothers.
To enable two-way, real-time communication with delivery robots, Woowa and SK Telecom are using AWS Wavelength, a service optimized for mobile edge computing applications. AWS Wavelength operates on SK Telecom’s 5G network, integrating 5G with the AWS Cloud to provide end users with ultra-low latency on a millisecond basis.
“We couldn’t meet latency requirements with 4G LTE or our previous network infrastructure. Even if we had a stable edge or IoT service, we wouldn’t be able to fully maximize the value of those solutions without resolving fundamental problems like network latency. Thankfully, AWS and SK Telecom offer ultra-low latency infrastructure that allow us to build a safe, advanced robot delivery service. We could also continue using other AWS services, APIs, and tools on the 5G network and maintain the same development environment that we had before Dilly Drive,” added Kim.
As of July 2021, AWS Wavelength is available in four countries with commercialized 5G services. The service is available in collaboration with the following local telecom providers in the following regions: SK Telecom in Korea, Verizon in the U.S, Vodafone in Europe, and KDDI in Japan.
“Applications can run in AWS Wavelength Zones located at the edge of the 5G network, which maximizes the benefits of ultra-low latency and bandwidth. The collaboration between SK Telecom’s 5G network and the AWS Cloud will allow customers to explore additional opportunities for innovation. These could include venturing into autonomous vehicles, smart factories, augmented and virtual reality, and machine-learning medical applications. We can build a 5G-enabled cloud ecosystem at the edge with our world-class 5G Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) technology,” says an SK Telecom representative.
Woowa Brothers is gradually expanding the Dilly Drive project and continues to improve the stability of its robots. After the pilot study at Konkuk University and an additional study at Woowa Brothers headquarters, the company started conducting trials of Dilly Drive at the Gwanggyo apartment complex in the city of Suwon in August 2020.
“AWS Wavelength provides very low latency, which allows our robots to register surrounding information in near real-time without delays. It helps us build a safer robot delivery service,” explained Kim.
Configuring the video surveillance system used throughout the Gwanggyo complex allowed control of the robots in real time to increase safety. Operators can adjust a robot’s speed based on the movement of people in an area. The robots can also identify and overcome hindering factors such as rain, wind, and dangerous road conditions.
The version of Dilly Drive introduced at the Gwanggyo complex was an upgraded model compared to the model tested at Konkuk University the previous year. Per lessons learned in the trial, upgraded Dilly Drive robots are equipped with enhanced remote-control functions. They’re also designed to operate at a low speed, stop at crosswalks, and frequently monitor foot traffic, particularly in areas with many children. “Thanks to active support from AWS and our partner SK Telecom, we’re able to control Dilly Drive remotely without any blind spots,” explained Kim.
Woowa Brothers plans to expand the scope of its research and development on autonomous robots. The company aims to broaden the applications for its robots in fully outdoor environments to safely navigate busy streets and sidewalks.
To learn more, visit AWS Wavelength.
About the Partner: SK Telecom
- SK Telecom is South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, and has ventures in verticals including media, security, commerce, IoT, and mobility. In addition to 5G communications, the company boasts world-class technology in fields such as AI, big data and analytics, and quantum cryptography. SK Telecom partnered with AWS to commercialize 5G MEC. As an AWS Advanced Partner, SK Telecom is developing a contact center to support AWS Wavelength use cases.
About Woowa Brothers
Woowa Brothers is a comprehensive food technology company that operates the leading delivery application Baedal Minjok (Baemin) in Korea. It’s expanding into artificial intelligence and development of autonomous robot technology.
Benefits of AWS
- Builds a safe, advanced robot delivery service
- Receives specialized support from industry experts
- Facilitates real-time, two-way communication with ultra-low latency
- Enables remote control of robots to ensure safety
AWS Services Used
AWS Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services within 5G networks, providing mobile edge computing infrastructure for developing, deploying, and scaling ultra-low-latency applications.
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