Robots heat up Winter Games
2018-03-05, CHENG YU and MA SI

With dazzling lights, a group of 24 mobile robots “danced” to music with performers in an eight-minute high-tech show on Feb 25 at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

It was one of the world’s first live performances featuring such a large-scale mobile robot team and human dancers.

“The biggest difficulty is that robots are expected to perform a variety of complicated moves and be in line with the performers, lights and music,” said Zhang Lei, who is responsible for developing these mobile robots at Siasun Robot & Automation Co.

Zhang added that the bad weather and uneven stage also added uncertainties to the show.

The company based in Shenyang, Northeast China’s Liaoning province, developed and applied a laser guidance system to give a pair of “eyes” to the robots so that they could move accurately in the complicated environment.

To guarantee security at the closing ceremony, most of the wireless network bands the robots usually used were shielded. Faced with the bottleneck, Siasun upgraded the robots’ communication system to ensure they could receive instructions as normal.

Affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Siasun is a leading robotics enterprise in China and has one of the most comprehensive robotic product lines in the world.

Its high-tech industrial park went into operation last year and has become the largest robotic industrial base in China.

Luo Jun, CEO of the International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance, a Beijing-based industry association, said the show reflects China’s strength in computer vision technology. “It is a good showcase of the country’s technological progress.”

Siasun, China’s largest robot maker by market value, is also stepping up efforts to go global. 

Qu Daokui, president of Siasun, has said that the company is looking at investing in robot technology leaders in Europe and the United States, with acquisition deals starting from at least $1 billion.

“We want to become a global tech heavyweight in 2020,” Qu said.

Currently, the company’s industrial robots and other products are exported to more than 30 countries and regions. Moreover, two-thirds of Siasun’s customers are foreign companies.


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