Kia is building on robotics technology with the development of Hyundai Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) wearable industrial robots.
An affiliate of Korean automaker Hyundai, Kia plans to verify H-VEX’s success through extensive testing at the end of this year.
H-VEX is a device that alleviates pressure on workers’ neck and back by adding 132 lbs. (60 kg) of strength to users when their arms are used overhead. Hyundai expects it to be effective in preventing injury and increasing work efficiency.
It follows the Hyundai Chairless Exoskeleton (H-CEX) demonstration conducted in August at the Hyundai-Kia North American factory.
The H-CEX is a knee-joint protective device that helps maintain a worker’s sitting position. Weighing at 2.5 lbs. (1.6 kg), it can handle weights up to 330 lbs. (150 kg). With waist, thigh and knee belts it can be easily fitted and adjusted to the user’s height.
Hyundai is focusing on robot-artificial intelligence as one of five areas of innovation and growth and has established a robotics team in its strategic technology headquarters to focus on the development of related technology.
It is developing robotics technology in three areas – wearable robots, service robots and micro-mobility – and is working with other domestic and international companies developing robotic and artificial intelligence technology.
Last year, Hyundai modeled a sales service robot that can explain car details to customers. It is equipped a with natural-language conversation system, artificial intelligence and a mobility function.
It now is in the design and development stage, and a prototype is expected to be available early next year. A prototype electric-vehicle charge manipulator that automatically charges an EV when it stops in front of the device will be previewed by 2020.
Hyundai says it is making substantial investments in robotics, which it considers one of the promising fields for mobility.
Last September it initiated a strategic investment in the U.S.-based AI start-up Perceptive Automata to secure human movement prediction technology. The automaker also is cooperating with China’s top vision-technology-equipped AI intelligence start-up DeepGlint.
Hyundai created a $4.5 million AI alliance fund with SK Telecom and the Hanwha asset-management company to invest in promising start-ups with competence in AI and smart mobility.