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Making the Future in Logistics with Autonomous Mobile Robots
Sep 08, 2020 | By Velodyne Lidar

Interview with SJ Kim, Head of Technical Sales at Twinny

Twinny's Nargo robot, a fully-autonomous driving freight robot equipped with Velodyne's Puck lidar sensor
Twinny’s Nargo robot, a fully-autonomous driving freight robot equipped with Velodyne’s Puck lidar sensor

Logistics and warehouse processes are constantly pushed to fulfill orders faster and more efficiently. Companies are responding to these pressures by increasing automation. This includes autonomous mobile robots that are helping to improve the logistical flow of goods.

Twinny, an Automated with Velodyne partner, develops and manufactures indoor autonomous driving robots. Their robots are suitable for large warehouses and logistics centers worldwide, helping them to decrease the cost of labor and increase efficiency.

Twinny’s product family includes NarGo, a fully autonomous freight robot that carries heavy goods while following a person in a retail or warehouse environment. It also includes NarGo Follower, a freight robot that follows NarGo, providing additional freight-moving capacity.

To learn more about Twinny, we interviewed SJ Kim.

Q: Can you introduce our readers to Twinny and how your company is advancing the future of logistics?

SJ: Twinny was founded by twin brothers, HS Cheon and YS Cheon. HS graduated with a Ph.D. from KAIST, Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. YS graduated with a BA in business administration at Korea Univ. and worked for SMBC, the government institute of Small & Medium Business Corporation. The brothers founded Twinny in 2015 and built the business with customers that include both the Korean government and industrial companies. Under the motto of “Move further, make the future,” Twinny makes human life more convenient, especially in the area of autonomous driving technology. We have many patents and developed new technologies. We are even working to connect with 5G mobility.

Twinny Nargo Leader and Follower full-autonomous freight robots, guided by Velodyne Puck sensors
Twinny Nargo Leader and Follower full-autonomous freight robots, guided by Velodyne Puck sensors

Q: Tell us about the sectors your customers operate in and how they are using your robots?

SJ: We have many customers in sectors that include hospitals, large markets, manufacturing and distribution centers. As a POC (Proof of Concept), we deployed robots in hospitals, large supermarkets and big distribution centers.

In the hospital environment, our robot NarGo carries contaminated items and cleans operation areas. In the large supermarket segment, NarGo carries customers’ ordered goods to a pick-up point, and in the distribution center, the robot carries small and big order picking materials.

Twinny has a close partnership with Korean telecommunication company, KT, and made a future platform service announcement regarding 5G connection. This news was covered in ZDNet, CNET and other media. We see this a market-making opportunity to potentially position Twinny as the leader of robots combined with 5G technology.

Lastly, in the manufacturing area, we have a successful application that shows improvement in manufacturing efficiency in distributing materials and goods through a facility.

We are very excited about addressing the needs of our customers for autonomous technology!

Q: Why did you select Velodyne’s lidar sensors for your robots – and what’s been your experience with them?

SJ: Velodyne is a pioneer in the area of lidar technology and we have no doubt that will continue. Velodyne’s lidar sensors are precise, accurate and rugged and meet our needs very well. To achieve precise and accurate performance of Twinny’s robot, we chose Velodyne’s Puck 3D lidar sensor. At the beginning of project, the price was high, but as Velodyne scaled up the manufacturing of the sensor, the price is affordable for our projects and customers. Twinny is very satisfied with the Puck sensor.

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has driven healthcare and business to search for new ways to provide needed services while also keeping workers safe. Are you seeing greater interest among these organizations in how autonomous mobile robots can help in these situations?

SJ: Before and after COVID-19 will be totally different. Companies are moving to “touchless business.” In Korea, it is called “Untact Business.” Twinny is preparing for businesses to utilize Twinny autonomous robots to conduct disinfection processes and touchless delivery business in a building. We are seeing big opportunities in last mile delivery service like FedEx, UPS and DHL, and in smart buildings and cities. The business opportunity after COVID-19 could be large and we believe Twinny’s technology will be needed and used by our customers.

Twinny’s Nargo in action!

Q: What can we expect to see from Twinny in the future?

SJ: Twinny specializes in software solutions, and as you may know, for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) or Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR), software is king. For that reason, Twinny will show future solutions that expand on our capabilities and expertise. As I already mentioned, 5G mobility will change and evolve the market, enabling control via video to make work more efficient and well planned. New business models, such as subscription services for AGVs and AMRs, will emerge.

For the smart buildings and cities, Twinny’s robot will be operate both indoors and outside. With well-planned task management, users can call the nearest robot from an app. Twinny’s robot can make elevators and touchless door to door delivery occur. In the big supermarket segment, people will likely not need to be in the store. Customers can order via apps and pick up the ordered goods delivered by robot on time in the parking lot. In the hospital, robots can carry meals or contaminated items. Smart offices will hopefully be realized and robots will carry documents, posts, laptops and so on.

In the near future, we believe robots will be everywhere in our life and make our life more convenient. It is our motto “Move further, make the future!”

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne provides smart, powerful lidar solutions for autonomy and driver assistance. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Velodyne is known worldwide for its portfolio of breakthrough lidar sensor technologies. Velodyne’s Founder, David Hall, invented real-time surround view lidar systems in 2005 as part of Velodyne Acoustics. Mr. Hall’s invention revolutionized perception and autonomy for automotive, new mobility, mapping, robotics, and security. Velodyne’s high-performance product line includes a broad range of sensing solutions, including the cost-effective Puck™, the versatile Ultra Puck™, the autonomy-advancing Alpha Prime™, the ADAS-optimized Velarray™ and the groundbreaking software for driver assistance, Vella™.

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