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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 14:33, May 31, 2007
China-made robot joins the army
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In early 2007, China set up its first intelligent device defusing and reconnaissance robot unit in the city of Zigong, in Sichuan province. The robot, named "Vanguard No.1," can complete missions of battlefield reconnaissance, defuse bombs and attack targets.

Defusing master with intelligent operation

On May 15th, a challenge for the Sichuan reserve militia was held.

On the training grounds, the militia was given a hostage rescue mission. The militia's emergency division launched a rapid attack.

"Freeze, and raise your hands!" Following a loud shout, dozens of heavily armed militia aimed at the "bandits," and the hostages were safely rescued.

Then, the command group received a new situation: the "bandits" had installed three explosive devices all around, including homemade mines, timed explosive devices and those with toxic gases, that must be defused quickly.

At this dangerous moment, the militia thought of their new comrade-in-arms, "Vanguard No.1."

"Explosive device found in target area number 3. Please send 'Vanguard No.1' to defuse the device!" Upon receiving the order, operator Lu Tao, together with two other people, turned on the control mechanism, installed backup batteries for "Vanguard No.1," and adjusted the docking signal right away.

Woo�� The intelligent robot quickly moved towards the target at a speed of two meters per second.

"Sump ahead. Detour from the left." Upon receiving the voice command, the robot immediately turned on its ultrasonic positioning system, and accurately avoided the sump on the left.

" 'Vanguard No.1', the suspicious explosive is a red box!" The operator once again voiced his instruction. After the robot approached the object, it transmitted the image of the suspicious object to the operator's screen. It also kept altering camera angles and using a laser measurement system to determine the size of the object.

Wide applicability and diversified functions

Liu Fujun, senior engineer of a scientific company in Zigong City and militia leader, stated that "Vanguard No.1" was developed in collaboration with ten other members of the militia after six months of hard work. It is a robot on wheels that can pass over slopes and curves, and can move through a crowd. It can make U-turns on a 1.5 meter-wide roadway. It can reach speeds of up to 120 meters per minute. The robot is equipped with a walking camera and a surveillance camera, both with a colored charged-couple device (CCD). In addition, it also carries more than twenty technical modules, such as a voice and color recognition module, a satellite positioning system, a power detection system, and infrared night vision technology.

In February of this year, by taking advantage of the advanced robot technology of a specific technology company, the military sub-district of Zigong City set up a militia unit. It is reported that the "Vanguard No.1" robot can replace human beings in handling and movement of explosives and dangerous items, detonating and destroying bombs, and conducting field reconnaissance work. It can identify the color of objects and can understand people's words. It can accurately measure distance and the physical size of objects, as well as recognize dangerous goods and property. When armed with shotguns, it can act as a real gun. The militia unit has thereby truly achieved a man-machine dialogue and human-computer integration technology.

Wu An, political commissar of the military sub-district, said, "In the next step, this unit of militia will further develop a series of robots and replace the wheeled-based robots with leg-based robots, that can complete mission that involve climbing, getting over trenches, and remote monitoring."

At the headquarters, three computers report the activity of the "Vanguard No. 1". "Every time the robot is functioning, the computer will also begin to record and report the situation on-site," the militia said.

Then, the commander issued another command: "People around. Move the explosive immediately." As seen on the LED display screen, the robot quickly grabbed the explosive and departed from the site.

By People's Daily Online

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