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

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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