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E-mart, LG Electronics join hands to develop retail service robots

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

E-mart and LG Electronics 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. 

LG Electronics CTO division conversion center Chief Cho Taek-il (left) and E-mart’s strategy division Chief Hyung Tae-jun pose for a phot after a signing ceremony held at E-mart headquarters on Monday. (E-mart)
LG Electronics CTO division conversion center Chief Cho Taek-il (left) and E-mart’s strategy division Chief Hyung Tae-jun pose for a phot after a signing ceremony held at E-mart headquarters on Monday. (E-mart)

“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. 

Eli (E-mart)
Eli (E-mart)

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.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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