China’s service robots venture into broader scenarios – Xinhua

Children look at a food service robot at the World Robot Conference (WRC) 2022 in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 20, 2022. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — For gardeners and homeowners who often lament the trouble of mowing lawns, a robot made in China can come at their service.

Developed by Chinese service robotics company ECOVACS, the robotic lawn mower can automatically map a lawn and its boundaries in less than 30 minutes and mow 600 square meters of lawn per day.

The new product, which will hit Chinese and European markets in early 2023, marks a bold step for the company to venture beyond traditional household services like floor cleaning.

The role of robots is to “create new dimensions of convenience in people’s lives,” said David Qian, CEO of ECOVACS Robotics.

Chinese service robotics companies like ECOVACS are expanding their presence in a growing number of life and work scenarios in the world’s largest market for robotics applications.

In many hotels in the country, food orders can be delivered to the front door by robots. In some hospitals, robots can show patients the way. Ski robots have been used in northeast China to help athletes train. At a school in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, a robot that can play and teach Chinese chess is ready to interact with students.

“Service robots are constantly improving the level of social services in catering, retail, logistics distribution, medical rehabilitation and other fields,” said Wang Hong, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

A number of manufacturers such as smart device maker Xiaomi and home appliance maker Midea have made forays into the market. By the end of 2021, China had 101 specialized and sophisticated companies producing novel and unique robotics products, according to the ministry.

Last year, China’s production of service robots reached 9.214 million units, up about 49 percent from 2020.

“China has basically formed a whole industrial chain system, from robot parts to entire machines to robot applications,” Wang said. “The resilience of the industrial chain is increasing.”

In 2022, according to a report by the Chinese Institute of Electronics, demand in education, public service and other fields will become the main driving force for the development of service robots. The market size of service robots in China is expected to surpass US$10 billion by 2024.

According to a joint plan by MIIT and other government agencies, China will promote high-end robotic products in 2021-2025.

Companies will be encouraged to set up product experience centers and accelerate the promotion of robots for domestic services, education and entertainment, among others, the plan said.

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