BUSINESS

[Tech Brunch] LG focuses on robot technologies to support humans

By Song Su-hyun

A look into technologies put into robots by LG’s research lab

  • Published : May 15, 2018 - 17:01
  • Updated : May 15, 2018 - 17:41
Tech Brunch breaks down how complex technologies work. -- Ed.

To a question about what kinds of robots LG Electronics aims to build, Baek Seung-min, research fellow at the company’s Advanced Robotics Lab under the CTO Division, says, “Robots that understand and help people.”

The country’s leading home appliance provider is on track to commercialize the first robot for daily lives at home in the second half of this year, and Baek highlights that the whole point of making these robots is to be supportive of people.

To make robots more capable of professionally serving human users, LG’s robot lab has been focusing research and development efforts on technologies that are particularly related to intelligence of robots.

According to the LG researcher, there are a variety of technological areas needed to build a single robot. 

Baek Seung-min, research fellow at the company’s Advanced Robotics Lab under the CTO Division (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

Robot technologies can be categorized into six areas: hardware and design; motor and actuator; sensors including camera, ultrasonic sound, touch and microphone; integrated circuits; artificial intelligence software; and monitoring system, he explained.

“Amongst all, LG is focusing on artificial intelligence technologies that determine the three most important capabilities of robots,” Baek said.

“In large commercial areas, robots need to be able to navigate autonomously considering human’s movements in order not to bump into them, which is termed as navigation,” he said. “Then, we are concentrating on interaction that will ultimately enable emotional exchanges and conversations with humans.”

The levels of voice recognition techs are being elevated through technological improvements at the labs under the CTO division, for example, to make robots better recognize human voices in a noisy environment or to understand human users’ verbal orders out of context.

The third one is manipulation that enables robots with arms do things proactively rather than passively taking orders from humans. Manipulation techs are yet too early to see in upcoming human-friendly robots, Baek noted.

“In both large commercial areas and personal spaces, LG’s robots will be designed to support people,“ he underlined, dismissing widely discussed concerns about negative effects of robots’ commercialization, such as killing jobs as they replace human workers.

Established in June 2017, LG’s Advanced Robotics Lab has been developing the company’s robot portfolio by securing core technologies through its own R&D and investments in outside companies.

LG has so far unveiled seven kinds of robots in the works each with jobs to clean, guide, serve, mow, carry luggage, act as a shopping cart and operate as a home hub.

“People’s expectations on robots are very high, but they aren’t yet at those levels,” Baek said. “Despite the reality, people show consistent interest in robots and keep trying to use them. I believe growth potentials of robots are significant as we keep going with technological development.”

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)


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