The DAL-e is a customer service robot that looks humanoid and replaces the salesperson in a car showroom, Hyundai Motor Group explained. It is being tested at a showroom in South Korea. The robot can move independently about its premises, repeatedly recognise you by your face, and explain the strengths of any car you might purchase. But why replace the salesperson with the robot?
Covid-19 might make you reluctant to get close to a salesperson, Hyundai hinted. Social distancing is the new norm. However, you may be happy to interact with a robot that cannot infect you (if it is clean). Furthermore, if the salesperson is busy with another customer the robot can serve you instead. This might save you time.
Consider too that the pandemic recently forced car showrooms to close – by law. The risk of infection was too great. The closures had a savage impact on the motor industry which lost countless sales. Jobs were put at risk throughout the whole supply chain. However, maybe a showroom run by this robot could have stayed open.
The DAL-e looks humanoid. It, therefore, has a separate head, body, and arms that make gestures. There are no legs, though. The robot manoeuvres instead via omnidirectional wheels. Furthermore, it is 116cm tall, 60cm wide, and predominately grey and white. It also has eyes and a somewhat friendly expression. Such features apparently ‘exude a welcoming appeal’, the manufacturer emphasised.
How it works
Let us consider what might happen if you meet the customer service robot. Perhaps you enter the showroom without a face mask. It asks you to wear one. Such dialogue is ‘smooth’, the manufacturer suggested. The robot might now respond to your commands. The commands can be verbal or via the screen on its head.
Perhaps you ask a question about a car you might purchase. How big is the boot? For example. The answer might come via the robot’s touchscreen. It might instead ‘purvey entertaining information’ by connecting wirelessly to a large screen in the showroom. There are further points to note. The highlights include:
- the robot can ‘beckon’ you to have a picture taken
- it weighs 80kg
- more showrooms are likely to have a robot if the trial is successful
- ‘DAL-e’ is the acronym for ‘drive you, assist you, link with you experience’.
Hyundai summarised its clever new robot. ‘The DAL-e is a next-generation service platform that can offer automated customer services anytime. It is expected to become a messenger capable of delivering consistent messages to customers in a more intimate and personal way than conventional robots’, the spokesperson concluded.