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Hyundai & Kia: Autonomous Indoor Delivery Robots and EV Batteries in India – CleanTechnica


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Hyundai and Kia continue to push boundaries and expand in the electric vehicle arena, and that now includes getting into EV battery production in India. They’ve also been doing their own thing with robots — not to be left behind by Tesla, presumably — and are showing off their ability to deliver coffee indoors.

India is well known for its protectionist, domestic-content-focused policies, including in the automotive industry. Reportedly, that’s the key reason why Tesla isn’t in India yet. However, Hyundai and Kia are ready to amp up their EV efforts there. Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation have teamed up with Exide Energy Solutions via an MoU in order to produce LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) batteries in India for EVs to be sold in India. Exide Energy Solutions is reportedly “a leading Indian battery company.”

Naturally, India is seen as a huge potential market for electric vehicles, but it is relatively immature in terms of EV adoption. That’s despite the fact that the country set a goal several years ago of becoming the first 100% electric vehicle nation. (It was so far from that target at the time while other countries had quite high EV adoption already, that it was a bit of a bewildering public goal, but it has certainly drifted by the wayside and been forgotten as time has marched on.) Sooner or later, though, the India automotive market will electrify, and Hyundai and Kia will be there to earn its fair share of sales.

“India is a key market for vehicle electrification due in part to the government’s carbon neutrality goals, which makes securing cost competitiveness through localized battery production crucial,” said Heui Won Yang, President and Head of Hyundai Motor and Kia’s R&D Division. “Through this global partnership with Exide Energy Solutions Ltd., we will gain a competitive advantage by equipping Hyundai Motor and Kia’s future EV models in the Indian market with locally produced batteries.”

And then there are the robots.

I was thinking, should we even talk about the robots? Well, we’re talking about them.

Last week, Hyundai and Kia revealed a new version of their DAL-e Delivery robot. “This robot, based on the delivery robot introduced in December 2022, is expected to improve delivery performance, particularly in complex settings, such as offices and shopping malls,” the companies write. They also note that the robot has been significantly improved in terms of both design and performance. For example, it’s now smaller on the outside but has more cargo space on the inside. It can carry p to 10 kg and up to 16 cups of coffee.

“DAL-e Delivery offers efficient and reliable F&B and parcel dispatch services to ensure customers receive goods promptly,” said Dong Jin Hyun, Vice President and Head of Robotics Lab at Hyundai Motor and Kia. “Our vision extends to implementing infrastructure interworking across diverse spaces, including offices, restaurants and shopping malls.”

Here’s a bit more:

“DAL-e Delivery is based on four Plug & Drive (PnD) modules, a mobility solution that combines a motor with steering, suspension, braking systems and environmental recognition sensors. It can speed up to 1.2 m/s, with the free-moving PnD modules combined with advanced autonomous driving technology to recognize obstacles and easily navigate in congested areas. Also, the robot’s enhanced suspension provides a steady ride over bumps in the floor to ensure stable delivery. […]

“The standout feature of DAL-e Delivery is its autonomous driving capability to navigate and transfer to and from all building floors, seamlessly interfacing with the elevator and door control system. Furthermore, it ensures quick delivery service by creating optimal routes in real-time. […]

“When DAL-e Delivery arrives at the destination, it recognizes the recipient through its installed camera. Utilizing advanced AI facial identification technology developed by Hyundai Motor and Kia’s Robotics Lab, the door automatically opens without the need for the recipient to input a password. This facial recognition technology, officially certified by the Korea Internet and Security Agency for its 99.9 percent accuracy, underscores the technological excellence of the Robotics Lab.”

Star Wars, here we come!

Okay, I’m happy we covered the robot. For even more details, check out the full press release.

All images courtesy of Hyundai and Kia.

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