SEOUL, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A South Korean convenience store chain has announced plans to launch a robot delivery service, as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes the service industry to go contactless.
GS Retail, which runs the ubiquitous GS25 convenience store brand, announced Monday the robot service would be rolled out at its outlet in western Seoul.
"So many South Korean conglomerates and startups are working on the technologies related to delivery robots," said Choi Sung-lok of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute. "Technical development and social change will bring about more delivery robots."
Customers will make orders through an instant messenger, triggering a store clerk to place products on the robot while inputting the destination and the customer's mobile phone number.
Then the 4.3-foot-tall robot will carry the items to the customer, who can unlock a drawer on the robot's body by typing a PIN after getting a message that their goods have arrived. The robot can even get on and off elevators, the company said.
The bot can carry a maximum of 33 pounds and has a security system that prevents loss or robbery during delivery.
GS Retail official Park Sang-wook said that the firm will install the robots in its other stores in Seoul next year.
"We will put forth great efforts to realize fanciful services like the delivery robots as part of our digital transformation strategy," he said.
Builder Samsung C&T, discount chain E-Mart, delivery app company Baedal Minjok, and Howard Johnson Jeju Hotel have also shown off robotic services.
Oil refiner GS Caltex is even considering drone delivery services for its gas stations after getting the government approval. The outfit showcased test flights from its drones earlier this year.