Laying the foundation for a logistics automation system
The Advanced Technology Team

The Advanced Technology Team is working hard to lay the foundation for smart logistics solutions at Hyundai Glovis. To this end, the team is researching the advanced technologies needed to implement smart logistic centers and core technologies. Meet the key players of the team’s Design, Control, and SW Parts who are sparing no effort in innovating logistics automation innovation.

Automation technologies that involve robots, artificial intelligence, and control systems—which were once only seen in movies—are now becoming core technologies for logistics centers. The Advanced Technology Team is responsible for researching, testing, and implementing these technologies for the development of the logistics automation system at Hyundai Glovis. The team was established as part of the Future Innovation Technology Center in September 2022 and is staffed with talented professionals who have experience in the design, control, and software of robots and automation.

The team is primarily tasked with researching and testing the advanced technologies needed to set up smart logistic centers as well as with implementing core technologies. They are particularly focused on tasks related to the review, verification, and realization of robotic technologies that are aligned with the company’s technology roadmap (TRM). Currently, the team is researching the robot-related technologies required for automating the packaging process at the KD Center and the unmanned warehouse project for the MFC (urban logistics center) business.

The Advanced Technology Team is divided into the Design, Control, and SW Parts, each of which organically carries out a different workstream in cooperation with the other parts. The Design Part analyzes customer requirements and then designs, manufactures, and implements the necessary robotic/mechanical structures, auxiliary devices, and automation equipment. The Control Part designs control systems for robotic applications and logistics automation equipment. They also develop operating programs and system interfaces. The SW Part develops convergent SW and AI robotic systems in order to realize flexible and intelligent robotic automation systems.

Q. What are your responsibilities in the Advanced Technology Team?

I have been in charge of control work ever since the Advanced Technology Team was first established in September 2022. My work involves designing electrical devices for the operation of automation facilities and programming each device so that it can function efficiently. Ultimately, my aim is to enable the end user to easily operate each piece of equipment for its intended purpose.

I have also been a part of the Advanced Technology Team ever since it was first launched. I review the design and layout of the grippers and peripheral devices required for robot automation.

I joined Hyundai Glovis on October 31, 2022, so I was the last to join the team. The SW Part combines various sensing and vision technologies that can be applied to robots. We use AI technology to assess environmental conditions and build intelligent robotic systems with precise control. Our job also involves researching advanced technologies for their eventual implementation.

Q. What are the biggest issues faced by each part?

Even though there are differences across industries, I feel that the expectations that people have for robot automation are similar. People have high expectations that robotic automations can solve labor problems and improve working environments. When it comes to labor, many of our clients want to reduce labor costs or resolve labor shortages. Environmental improvements include eliminating the need for people to perform dangerous tasks by replacing them with robots and increasing space and work efficiency.

The rapid growth of AI technology is breaking down many barriers. In particular, in the case of robots—equipped with image processing-related technologies, which act as the eyes of the robots and the rapid development of AI—it is now possible, through the convergence of robot software, to perform actions and make judgements that are similar to those made by human workers. Products such as Amazon’s Sparrow and Boston Dynamics’ Pick, which were unveiled at the end of last year, are examples of the integration of 2D and 3D recognition technologies with robot movement path generation technology. We are working hard to implement these advanced technologies at Hyundai Glovis.

For the Control Part, the biggest issue is whether the technology that drives the automation equipment matches the initial design, and if so, whether the application of the technology negatively affects the operation of the equipment.

“Since our team has a lot of different projects going on, our current goal is to help our team members perform their tasks without difficulty, so that they can successfully complete them within each deadline.”

– Senior Manger Choi Cheol-ho, Control Part

Eric S. HONG, The Advanced Technology Team

Q. What can you tell us about the robot-related technologies required for the automation of packaging at the KD Center and the development of unmanned warehouses for the MFC business?

At the Design Part, we are reviewing the tools and layouts needed for the automation of packaging processes at the KD Center. For the MFC solution, we are developing an interlocking mini load solution and automated guided vehicle (AGV). Both projects are in the preliminary stage of concept verification.

The Control Part is in the process of developing a customer delivery system for the unmanned warehouse project.

The SW Part is developing a robot depalletizer and automated packaging robot with the goal of automating the KD Center. We are currently in the concept design stage. Our job is to define the scope of application and work categories for the robots required for processing. In particular, we are to review the direction of incorporating peripheral devices such as vision systems into the robots and to set up initial concepts. In terms of software, we are still in the beginning stages.

Q. What areas of your work do you focus the most heavily on?

I tend to pay a lot of attention to industry trends and new products. I feel that being aware of new technologies helps me enhance my personal capabilities.

I make scheduling my highest priority. I manage our development schedule to meet the deadlines set by the customers—whether they be other business subdivisions or outside companies—for the development and verification of automation equipment.

Since my job involves fully implementing different tasks, I strive to act as a solid bridge connecting new employees and senior managers.

Q. How do you work together as different parts of the same team?

When we start a project, we review the concept together, and then the Design Part starts on the design of the mechanism. Afterwards, the Control Part verifies the robot or device design using our predetermined control processes, and the SW Part ensures that the new design links well with other equipment or systems. We all do our best in our respective areas of expertise to complete the project.

That’s right. Once we are given a task, all the different parts of our team continually collaborate with one another from start to finish. The Control Part identifies things that need to be considered during the initial design. We also share and reflect upon any problems that occur during the testing of the equipment so that the design can be modified as needed. We also continue to communicate with the SW Part from the initial design and testing to the final development of the product or service.

The SW Part collaborates with the other parts by reviewing the operation scenarios of the entire automation system and the impact that each component has on the overall system so that our observations can be reflected in the Design and Control Parts. You may think that we simply implement the design that has been developed. However, if we fully understand the components and objectives of the system, we can reduce the number of trials and errors, so the members of the SW Part consider different operation scenarios and exchange opinions with the other parts of the team.

“In addition to striving to become an expert in the design field, I’ll also continue to study control, SW, and AI to make communicating easier within the team. In the future, I want to become more knowledgeable about all the robotics fields.”

– Manager Kim Dong-youn, Design Part

Choi Beom-seong, The Advanced Technology Team

Q. When do you feel the most rewarded or proud of your work?

I feel the most rewarded when I see the customer or operator, who will ultimately use the automation equipment, is highly satisfied with the equipment.

I feel the proudest when we’re able to achieve our desired results through structured SW design and development.

I think anyone who designs equipment feels the same way. We feel the proudest when our design works normally without any issues. It’s usually difficult to achieve such good results in one attempt, but I learn and realize many things during the design process and feel the most rewarded when the final result works properly.

Kim Tae-hoon, The Advanced Technology Team

Q. Are there any strengths or aspects of the Advanced Technology Team that you’d like to share?

Our greatest strength is that all our team members have a good relationship with one another. I think this is a big asset because no one can complete a project alone, and positive synergy can only be created when you work well with others.

I also want to praise our flexible and youthful organizational culture.

The strength of the Advanced Technology Team is that we are both proud and humble. Everyone constantly strives to develop and better themselves in their fields, and everyone is proud of their work. Yet, when it comes to collaborating, we know how to listen to other people’s opinions with a certain humility. I believe this is why our team has such a positive atmosphere.

“I plan to develop my personal capabilities as a SW engineer of advanced technology and maximize our team’s capacities by collaborating with the other parts. I will do my best so that when people think of logistics robots, they will think of Hyundai Glovis, making it known as the leader of future logistics technology.”

– Manager Gong Sun-man, SW Part

Q. Is there anything you would like to say to your team members?

Since we all have expertise in our own field, I am very much looking forward to the future. Always be healthy and happy, and let’s create good results together!

I believe good communication is the most important thing. I hope that we can communicate with each other as often as possible to better understand each other, and head in the best direction together.

Let’s do our best together!

By the Editorial Department