Mobinn, a new venture from Hyundai, seems to have cracked the code on a common critique of delivery bots – their inability to navigate stairs and curbs. These bots, showcased at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, boast flexible wheels that effortlessly tackle stairs.
Most delivery bots struggle with stairs and curbs, usually opting to avoid them altogether by sticking to bike lanes or curb cuts. Mobinn took a different approach, recognizing the challenge of delivering to places elevated above street level.
Rather than asking customers to come down and pick up their orders, Mobinn designed a delivery bot capable of climbing stairs. CEO Choi Jin explained that the technology was developed at Hyundai over a few years before Mobinn became a separate entity last year. The robots are partially autonomous and equipped with sensors to navigate stairs.
Considering the robot’s potential fatigue of climbing stairs, I anticipated a limit to the number of steps it could handle. However, Jin mentioned that the robot can run continuously for 8 hours, conquering steps. That’s an impressive feat that not many out there can match.
The wheels can flex, but an articulating frame prevents them from losing shape.
He also mentioned that they manage this task with only four motors, one for each wheel, and without complicated differential setups. While it has a tilting bed to keep the payload level, there might be some jostling. The front features a pair of doors for accessing the food or package.
Jin shared that the robots are undergoing tests on the streets of Korea, but the company and product are still relatively new. Mobinn’s pitch deck suggests they’re also working on wheelchairs and other mobility options, but now, the delivery bot is their primary focus.