NAVER, South Korea’s leading search engine, is shooting its new Building from 1784 to a massive place where “humans work in harmony with robots”. The plan is for 100 robots to roam the building autonomously to provide various services to people. 1784 refers to the year the Industrial Revolution began.
The ROOKIE robot will be the primary platform for this experiment. Robots will even have their robot-only elevator to go from floor to floor quickly. Robots will be “brainless”, meaning they will be controlled by ARC, a centralized artificial intelligence, over a dedicated 5G network. NAVER cloud Forces ARC.
ARC stands for Ai Robot Cloud and includes the AI software, low-latency network and cloud computing resources. For example, the AI includes ARC Eye and ARC Brain, two critical neural networks that enable the robots to operate. The robots use ARC Eye to recognize where they are and find the best path to their destination. No GPS is required.
This architecture is in contrast to the “Edge AI” used by others. With Edge AI, the robot hosts the computing platform and may not require constant network access. On the other hand, centralizing NAVER could facilitate software updates and incremental improvements, which is crucial in the testing phase. Additionally, it can take advantage of the denser processing power of a data center and make the robots more efficient, both in terms of cost and battery life.
NAVER even built a “digital twin” to kickstart AI development. Digital twins are essentially 3D virtual worlds that mimic the physical facility in which robots will operate. Within these worlds, robots can be trained and tested safely and quickly. Many scenarios can be developed, and it is even possible to run the simulations much faster at many times the speed of the real world. “Digital Twins” is cutting-edge technology.
Aside from robots, the CLOVA FaceSign device also identifies people walking in the facility, even if they wear masks. NAVER even envisions AI-based physical exams and contactless intelligent assessments based on camera footage. From a privacy perspective, it would be very interesting to see how people react to this.
The 1784 building was designed using the latest technologies and trends, including recent pandemic experiences. For example, each floor has its HVAC system to keep pathogens from spreading to other floors. For convenience, it also has a fully equipped clinic.
The double-skin facade and the radiant cooling (cooling of the ceiling) are said to be energy-efficient, especially in the scorching Korean summer.
This project seems like a big experiment and I’m looking forward to testing it in the real world. I wonder what services these robots will perform and how they will make life easier for people in 1784. This could be a little taste of where things are headed.
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