South Korea: E-mart & LG Electronics develop retail service robots

E-mart, a South Korean discount chain operator, has joined hands with LG Electronics on the development and commercialization of retail service robots, including a smart shopping cart that will tag along behind the user.

Both companies held a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding and vowed to develop technology for a smart shopping cart that follows customers and does not require pushing.

“By actively engaging in the development of (a commercialized) smart cart, E-mart will continue to drive the future digital shopping environment,” said Hyung Tae-jun of E-mart’s strategy division.

In April, E-mart test-operated Korea’s first autonomous shopping cart (dubbed “Eli”) at its warehouse-style supermarket Traders in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province.

Eli features smart sensors that can recognize human voices and help users avoid obstacles. It can also guide shoppers to the items they want by displaying their locations on an attached liquid-crystal display screen, according to the company. Eli’s payment function uses a built-in sensor to scan product bar codes.

According to¸ the latest development by E-mart was led by the company’s internal technology research lab, S-Lab, which was established in 2014. The lab conducts experiments and test-operates products to bring new technologies -including robots, the internet of things and augmented and virtual reality- to the retail industry, the company said.

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