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Intelligent Robots to Reduce Worker Accidents in China

China is fielding technology to protect its workers. The goal is to reduce the number of annual deaths by 15% during the period, according to details contained in the National Safe Production Plan, which was unveiled recently by the Ministry of Emergency Management.

The annual number of serious and especially serious accidents in the workplace is also scheduled to drop by 20% during the five years. In China, serious accidents refer to those that cause the deaths of 10 to 29 people, serious injury to 50 to 99, or direct economic losses of 50 million yuan (US$ 7.9 million) to 100 million yuan (US$ 15,024,941). If an accident results in larger casualties or losses, it is ranked as especially serious.

To meet these goals, the plan called for more intelligent facilities in high-risk industrial sectors and to replace workers with robots in dangerous posts. A series of robot demonstration projects will be started and pilot programs will be rolled out to promote the integration of 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with production safety.

The plan could positively transform China’s various industries. For instance, according to the plan, intensified efforts will be made to advance the construction of intelligent coal mines, with intelligent early warning systems installed so that dangers can be better identified and analysed more speedily. Work safety supervision officials and rescuers will also be equipped with more intelligent apparatuses, and more drones and robots will be used in law enforcement.

There have been significant declines in workplace accidents and casualties under the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20). The number of workplace accidents in 2020, for example, fell by 43.3 per cent from 2015. The number of annual deaths dropped by 38.8% during the same period. Still, more is needed to be done to diminish the utmost deaths due to work-related accidents.

As for minimising risks, there may not be a better technology to get the job than what ICT presents. Early Warning System (EWS) means being able to identify risks. Plus, that involves monitoring the workplace and creating a warning before these risks materialise into accidents. The integration of IoT and AI plays a huge role in EWS. Collectively, such technology is called the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT).

Digital technology is changing China significantly these past years. There may not be a better gauge to use to indicate how much the country’s digital adoption is than the people’s daily lives. Today, China is one of the countries in the world that rely heavily on QR Codes with just about everyone using their smartphones for daily purchases.

Industries have also been positively impacted by digitalisation. Many of the country’s manufacturers today are reliant on the industrial internet to make things happen. It allows them to come up with more efficient production and greater output. In the long run, industrial internet adoption should boost the country’s economy more as the private sector increasingly adopt it.

Technology can even be used to minimise the country’s carbon footprint too. It’s bound to be a key driver. Just recently, China has fielded online vouchers to promote green consumption. The move is creating opportunities for everyone to choose more energy-efficient electronic devices. Indeed, it’s an ingenious solution to a pressing current problem as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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