China is setting out to mass produce human-like robots in two years, an ambitious plan that, according to a blueprint issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), it hopes will make the regime in Beijing the leader in the field of robotics.
The goal is to establish an innovation framework for humanoid robots and ensure that the country can make core parts of the robots on its own.
The products, under the MIIT plan, will meet advanced international standards in quality, for use in harsh environments, manufacturing, and service sectors, according to the directive. Like smartphones, computers, and new energy vehicles, humanoid robots have the “disruptive” potential to “revolutionize” people’s lives, the document said.
The ministry told local officials to take advantage of China’s market size and its “whole-of-nation system” to accelerate humanoid robot development as a pillar industry to advance China’s manufacturing and digital dominance.
Beijing hopes that by 2025 it will have two to three companies with global influence and will nurture more smaller businesses dedicated to the field. In another two years, the aim is to create a “safe and reliable supply chain” for the technology and make the country competitive globally. At that point, it said, such products will be deeply integrated into the economy and become a “new engine” for economic growth.
The “brain,” “cerebellum,” and “limbs” of the robots should be the focus, and the industry should aim at creating “highly reliable” robots for harsh or dangerous conditions, the guideline said. When monitoring and safeguarding “strategic locations,” robots need to be able to move in “highly complicated terrains,” size up the situation, and make intelligent decisions, it said, adding that robots will need greater ability to protect themselves and work with higher precision in scenarios such as rescue work or where explosives are involved.
Relevant authorities need to deepen international cooperation, encourage foreign companies to create research centers in China, and bring Chinese products to the international market, according to the document.
Eager to partake in setting the global standard for emerging technology, Beijing said it’d like to get “deeply involved in the international rules and standard setting” and “contribute Chinese wisdom” to the industry’s development, the document said.