A Chinese tech company has deployed an army of 5G-controlled robots to help battle the coronavirus outbreak in China – and their human operators don't even have to be in the same city.
The flu-like disease has so far infected 80,430 people, with more than 3,000 people dying since the disease broke out in Wuhan, central China.
AgileX Robotics, a Guangdong-based tech company, has now invented a mini-rover – equipped with cameras and rotating nozzles to spray disinfectant on the streets – as an innovative approach to reduce cross infections among the public.
The anti-bacterial robots can be controlled by phones more than 2,000 kilometres away using the country's huge 5G network – the largest of its kind.
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Brandy, a marketing manager at AgileX Robotics who did not want to provide her last name, told Daily Star Online: "As long as there's 5G network covered, I can control the robot in Beijing while I am here in Shenzhen (roughly 1,367 miles away).
"This is a step of achievement to show how boundless it can be."
So far, the robots have been deployed in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
In a video of the robot in action in Shenzhen, the machine is seen operating on a train carriage while spraying anti-bacterial disinfectants onto the seats.
It can also be used on pavements, schools, commercial or resident buildings.
The robot can replace the risk of sending cleaners to coronavirus-hit towns to carry out the sanitation works.
"You can just connect the robot to your 5G-equipped phone or tablet and control it through our designated app," Brandy told this site.
"Alternatively you can control it using a joystick and it works like how you manoeuver a remote-controlled toy car.
"It can reach anywhere until the battery dies, which is about two hours."
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She said the robot can work in areas without 5G network, but, the distance would then be restricted to a range of 300 metres.
In China, authorities have deployed spray trucks and installed "disinfectant tunnels" across the cities after thousands of people were tested positive for the deadly virus.
Brandy explained: "Coronavirus can be easily spread through body contact, and the help of autonomous technology can reduce the risk to a minimal level.
"The operator can view the surrounding through the camera on the robot through 5G connection before carrying out the deep clean.
"The whole process is touch-free."
Daily Star Online can reveal that each robot can carry a 30litre disinfectant container with double nozzles that can spray at a range of 15,000 square-metre.
There are currently 30 robots deployed in the country to carry out the disinfectant work.
But Brandy said they are looking to improve some of the specs in bids to strengthen sanitation and hygiene.
"The nozzles we have at the moment are manually operated, we are hoping to automate it to further reduce the risk of touching infected surface," he explained.
"We will also add 'gimbal', a pivoted support, on the robot for easier control of the nozzles' direction."
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