KT to co-develop 5G-based robots and smart factories with Hyundai Heavy Industries

08, Nov. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - KT, South Korea's largest telecom company, will cooperate with the holding company of Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder, to co-develop autonomous robots and smart factory facilities

The two companies have previously forged a partnership in May to cooperate in the development of 5G-connected robots based on Hyundai Robotics, an industrial robot making-wing of Hyundai Heavy's holding company.

KT said in a statement on Thursday that the telecom company and Hyundai Heavy's holding company will expand their cooperation to further upgrade autonomous robotics technology by integrating various technologies such as 5G mobile communication, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to increase productivity and work efficiency.

KT said it will provide a cloud computing solution tuned exclusively for Hyundai Heavy using 5G Mobile Edge Computing technology, a network architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network.

MEC technology is designed to be implemented at cellular base stations or other edge nodes and enables flexible and rapid deployment of new applications and services for clients. By running applications and performing related processing tasks closer to the cellular customer, network congestion is reduced and applications perform better. 5G MEC processes data close to users by installing small data centers at 5G base stations or exchanges.

The telecom company will also cooperate with Hyundai Heavy to transform the shipbuilding company from a conventional shipyard operator into a digitally optimized company with shipyards connected to cloud networks. KT said that its convergence of data and communication technologies will make Hyundai Heavy's shipyard safer, efficient and productive than old factories.

The establishment of 5G networks in South Korea triggered a flurry of business cooperation in various industrial sectors, especially in robots and smart factories, while mobile carriers have tried to develop 5G edge cloud-based solutions for businesses.

In February, KT teamed up with Cognex, an American developer of machine vision, to commercialize a 5G-based edge cloud-based machine vision solution. Machine vision technology uses software and sensors in automated manufacturing facilities to identify parts, detect defects and guide assembly robots.

A month later, KT partnered with an e-commerce wing of South Korea's fashion wholesaler apM Group and RS Automation to develop a 5G-based smart factory solution for sewing factories and develop intelligent robots.

SK Telecom, the country's top mobile carrier, has partnered with MobiledgeX, a San Francisco-based edge computing company. Edge cloud, or edge computing, is a computing infrastructure established close to the sources of data such as Internet of things (IoT) devices and machines inside a smart factory. It is capable of gathering and analyzing data at the sources of data.

LG Electronics has made a strategic investment in Bossa Nova Robotics, a San Francisco-based startup that creates retail robots. In April, the company partnered with CJ Foodville, the franchise restaurant wing of South Korean entertainment and food conglomerate CJ, to develop food robots that would help workers and reduce their workload at restaurants.