China appoints ‘Meibao’ as a robot watchman

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A residential community in China‘s capital Beijing has adopted a first-of-its-kind “robot watchman” that integrates facial recognition, man-machine communication and infrared thermal imagery, replacing human night patrol.

Robot Meibao not only monitors illegal activities but also provides useful information to residents at the Meiyuan community in Beijing, Liu Gangjun, the project director at the Beijing Aerospace Automatic Control Institute (BAACI), told state-run Global Times on Thursday.

The robot is being tested from December 2018 to April 2019, he said.

It was developed by the BAACI with the support of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, an institute in China’s space industry, to replace the human night patrol, Liu said.

The technology is a combination of biological recognition, big data analysis, inertial navigation system and other technologies which can accurately process the information of pedestrians, according to the BAACI.

Liu said the institute monitors and records neighbourhood conditions.

If any suspect shows up in the community, Meibao or similar high-tech door locks would recognise them and the alarm in the department would sound off, Liu said.

It can provide weather forecasts and interesting stories, and even play music, which often attracts many children to talk with it, Liu told Global Times.

The institute has launched a project called “intelligent home” involving the robot, facial recognition door locks, digital annunciator board and smart watches designed to record senior citizens’ health condition, Liu said.

The project has been welcomed by watchmen.

In recent years, some districts in Beijing have adopted smart digital safeguards and convenient services for residents as China pushed Artificial Intelligence (AI) products as next stage of development to boost the slowing economy which last year posted a 6.6 per cent growth.