Hyundai debuts DAL-e: your future customer service robot

It’s cute, but are we ready to accept the help of robots instead of humans?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Hyundai has introduced DAL-e, an automated robot the company hopes will serve humans in an "intimate and personal way."

DAL-e, short for "Drive you, Assist you, Link with you-experience," is a compact robot measuring 1,160x600x600 mm and weighing 80kg that can zip around shop floors and can be programmed to offer "bespoke" customer services. 

On Monday, the automaker said DAL-e is backed by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), including language processing -- a useful addition to recognize queries and manage our accents -- facial recognition technologies, and mobility.

Hyundai is currently demonstrating DAL-e in one of the firm's showrooms in Seoul, South Korea, with a view to use the pilot to improve the customer services robot's AI capabilities. 

DAL-e "independently communicates with people using precise recognition capabilities and mobility functions," Hyundai says, touting the robot as a means to lighten the load on existing, human staff. 

As an example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, DAL-e could monitor a shop floor's entryway and by way of facial recognition could detect individuals entering without a mask -- and advise them to put one on.

The android could also be used to provide information to customers, escort them to areas of interest due to the inclusion of a four-wheel mobility system, and could also respond to a variety of verbal queries and commands. 

"Furthermore, [DAL-e] purveys entertaining information, such as explaining vehicles and technologies by connecting wirelessly to a large display screen at the venue, beckoning visitors to take photos with it, and providing gestured feedbacks using its movable arms," the company added. 

DAL-e is not expected to replace our human assistants anytime soon, but it is hoped that these forms of robotics could be a fair alternative to people for customers concerned about the spread of COVID-19, and may also prove valuable during peak, busy showroom times in the future.

According to Dong Jin Hyun, VP and chief of the Robotics Lab at Hyundai, DAL-e is "expected to become a messenger capable of delivering consistent messages to customers in a more intimate and personal way than conventional robots."

"With continuous updates and improvements, the DAL-e will provide fresh, pleasant experiences to our valued customers in a contact-free environment," the executive added. "Our objective is to enable the DAL-e to engage in a smooth and entertaining communication with customers and present valuable services to them."

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