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Cheetah Mobile’s robot trio looks to enable trade shows in a COVID-safe way

by Rachel England
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The robots do everything from offering snacks to taking temperature readings

Large industry events have been markedly different this year, with most taking place virtually, if at all – including our own AI Summit series.

Now, as the world cautiously looks forward to life after coronavirus, one company has developed a fleet of robots to enable exhibitions to take place in a COVID-safe way.

Beijing’s Cheetah Mobile has unveiled three AI-driven service robots: GreetBot, EngageBot and FanBot.

Deployed together, the robots are designed to offer trade show attendees an interactive experience both in person and online, while maintaining social distancing for physical visitors.

First up is GreetBot, which provides check-in, event info and venue guidance, as well as ID certification and touchless temperature readings for in-person attendees. For online visitors, the GreetBot can respond to real-time inquires, as well as provide virtual venue tours, allowing remote participants to visit different destinations as if they were present.

Then there’s EngageBot, which responds to visitor questions via voice control – it’s designed to act as an on-the-ground marketing agent, mitigating the need for human contact. Finally, there’s FanBot, an autonomous mobile vending machine that seeks out visitors and offers drinks and snacks via a contactless service.

Serving a post-COVID world

All three robots – which were trialed at the China International Fair for Trade in Services earlier this year – are driven by the OrionStar AI platform. It combines voice technology, speech-to-text natural language processing, facial recognition, emotion perception, and navigation, backed by specialized chips and proprietary AI algorithms.

According to Cheetah Mobile, which has deployed more than 15,000 AI-driven service robots to date, the operating system allows robots to recognize speech with more than 90% accuracy, respond in under 1.5 seconds, and identify customers’ needs within a five-meter radius.

“Understanding that many events in 2021 will be virtual, and in-person events will be different, we developed a solution to enable the event industry to continue to provide engaging experiences to attendees,” Cheetah Mobile said in a statement. “We see this as another opportunity for humans and robots to work together and better the world we live in.”

Cheetah’s android trio is the latest in a long line of service robots to hit the market, although this is perhaps the first offering promoted with a focus on COVID-19. From the world’s first ‘social humanoid’ robot Pepper, to nursing home support robots and even police robots, human-esque androids are serving a purpose in all sectors – something that is likely to increase following the pandemic.

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