Hubo robot

South Korea to employ 85 robots to assist with Olympic Games

Image credit: Dreamstime

The South Korean government has announced that it will be putting a range of social and other robots on display when it hosts the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

According to the Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry of South Korea, there will be 11 different robots on show.

One of them – a humanoid robot capable of walking, developed at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – will carry the Olympic torch on 11 December as it passes through the area near the institute.

An engineer at the institute, Professor Oh Jun-ho, has been placed in charge of the robotic team.

The social robots in the team will largely be employed to give directions and other tourist information to visitors, such as the LG-designed ‘Airport Guide Robot’, which can speak English, Korean, Mandarin and Japanese. One type of robot will draw murals on venue walls during the event. We may have to wait until February to discover the exact role of the fishing robot.

A number of more practical robots will assist staff with cleaning the venues and helping with deliveries.

Olympics host countries often use the events as opportunities to showcase the application of cutting-edge technologies developed in the country. The 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, for instance, made use of weather modification technology in order to ensure that the expensive opening ceremony would not be marred by rain.

The Summer Olympic Games, which will be hosted by Tokyo in 2020, are expected to be the showcase for a “robot village” to provide hospitality and other services. The country – which suffers from an ageing population – leads the world in many areas of robotics research and innovation, particularly in healthcare.

The 2020 Olympics are also planned as the showcase for a flying car designed by Toyota engineers, as the proposed vehicle carries the Olympic torch into the stadium during the opening ceremony. Fujitsu hope to have a 3D sensory and machine learning system in place by 2020 which may be used to help score the events.

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