On April 21 at the 12th Chongqing Hi-Tech Fair, China got its first taste of a robot that encompassed security capabilities and intelligence skills. Developed by the National Defense University, the bot can potentially be a key component in the fight against riots and terrorism in China. AnBot, as it's been named, includes intelligent video analysis capabilities and autonomous navigation.
The bot itself only weighs about 171 pounds, and it's less than five feet in height. Its maximum speed per hour is approximately 11 miles, but its creators believe it shouldn't be underestimated. Its sensors are designed to mimic the human brain, eyes and ears. It can work for up to eight hours at a time without needing to be recharged, and it can patrol a wide area by moving at a speed of less than one mile per hour.
Those who find themselves near AnBot in the event of an emergency can press its SOS button to notify local police. When it's active, AnBot can navigate through a dangerous environment, record video, and deliver electrical shocks if necessary. The bot is given instructions by a human (of course) who utilizes its remote control.
The development of AnBot may not come as a shock to those who have been closely watching the military security market. A study published by WinterGreen Research earlier this year discovered that the market for military ground robot mobile platform systems is worth approximately $3.2 billion. Furthermore, it's predicted to increase to $10.2 billion by 2021.
Military-type robots are being designed to fight terrorism and engage in dangerous situations. Researchers believe that funding sources for this technology will likely expand beyond the army to the state department and intelligence community.
"The U.S. army is embroiled in change of a different order - downsizing its size, downsizing the number of soldiers deployed," wrote the authors of the study. "This is an all-consuming task, not leaving much bandwidth for the leadership to think about how to combat terrorism with robots. The leadership of the army does have the idea that downsizing will free up budget to invest in technology."
Here's the AnBot in action, courtesy of New China TV: