Artificial Intelligence: South Korea’s SK Telecom Deploys Robotic COVID-Watcher

It’s a 5G, self-driving robot that checks visitors’ temperature, dispenses sanitizers, and disinfects the floor.

It also scolds people if they do not maintain social distancing norms. It doesn’t have a name, but the robot uses AI to sense gatherings and to tell them to move on. (REUTERS)

South Korea’s “distancing in daily life”

South Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) has jointly developed the robot with Omron Electronics Korea. Omron is a provider of industrial automation solutions.

The robot is on duty in the lobby of the Seoul headquarters of SK Telecom. The robot has hi-tech cameras, an LED screen, ultraviolet lamps, disinfectant sprayers, and a 5G Telecom connection to connect in real-time with a server.

According to Reuters, South Korea has been quite successful in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic which infected more than 11,000 persons and killed 269 in the country. It is now moving on from intensive social distancing to “distancing in daily life.”

In other functions, the robot can sound an alarm if a person’s temperature clocks over 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit). It also has a robotic speech function to admonish people who are gathering around and violating distancing norms. It also ticks off people who are not wearing masks.

Many benefits of the robot

“The robot helps minimize people-to-people contact and reduce the time that’s taken for temperature checks at the entrance, and the AI technology raises accuracy,” said Ra Kyhong-hwan, head of data business cooperation at SK Telecom and one of the developers.

Infection is a key concern while combating the virus. Therefore, artificial intelligence and robots are useful for various applications that would otherwise expose human beings to risk.

COVID: AI and robots to the rescue

Chinese hospitals are using Danish UV robots to disinfect their premises quickly and effectively. Denmark-based Blue Ocean Robotics, led by Claus Risager, is selling hundreds of these hospital robots to China. At €60,000 each (US$67,000), the UVD robots glide around hospitals and healthcare facilities beaming UV light to destroy bacteria and viruses.

Kogniz, a startup based in Mill Valley, California, has launched a tool to detect people who may be suffering from the deadly coronavirus. Using high technology cameras and an AI-based software platform, Kogniz’s system can identify an infected person – very much like the free-wheeling SK Telecom robot.

These people can then be stopped from entering the building.

Related Story:   A Robotics Startup That Lived To Tell The Tale                                                

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