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AI robots steal the show during Spring Festival

Zhu Shenshen
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including four-legged ox robots and virtual shopping "guides," shined during the Chinese New Year holiday.
Zhu Shenshen

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including four-legged ox robots and virtual and intelligent shopping “guides," shined during the Chinese New Year holiday — used to boost innovation and the economy, prevent and control the coronavirus and improve people’s daily lives.

Ox robots, called “Pioneering Ox,” debuted at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the most watched television program in the world.  

The prototype robot — designed by startup UBTech to celebrate the Year of the Ox — danced and interacted with human actors on stage, triggering a huge online buzz.

AI robots steal the show during Spring Festival
Ti Gong

The debut of the Pioneering Ox robot.

The ox robot features the company’s core technologies, such as high-performance drives and control algorithms, motion control, computer vision, autonomous navigation and positioning algorithms. It will have commercial applications in the future, according to UBTech officials.

Zhou Jian, UBTech’s chairman and chief executive officer, said he is looking for “a unique road for China's intelligent robot development."

The company's products are used in education, security, health care and coronavirus prevention, and smart logistics.

In 1,100 shopping centers across China, 11,000 robot guides greet, give directions and offer location-specific coupons to visitors, according to developer Cheetah Mobile.

AI robots steal the show during Spring Festival
Ti Gong

A robot provides information to customers in a shopping center.

Because so many people opted not to return to their hometowns over the holiday, coupon-triggered transaction volume jumped about 40 percent year on year, according to Cheetah Mobile.

Startup Xiaoice — a Microsoft spinoff — began partnering with Watsons during Spring Festival to offer customers customized AI introductions and recommendations, enabling them to carry out transactions and have products delivered to their homes in as little as 30 minutes.


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