BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- For gardeners and homeowners who often lament the toil of mowing the lawn, a made-in-China robot can come to their service.
The robotic lawn mower developed by Chinese service robotics firm ECOVACS can automatically map a lawn and its boundaries in less than 30 minutes, and mow a lawn of 600 square meters a day.
The new product, which will hit the Chinese and European markets in early 2023, marks a bold step for the company to venture beyond traditional indoor household services like floor cleaning.
The role of robots is "to shape new dimensions of convenience in people's lives," said David Qian, CEO of ECOVACS Robotics.
Chinese service robotics firms like ECOVACS are expanding their footprint in a growing set of life and work scenarios in the world's largest robotics application market.
In many of the country's hotels, orders for food can be delivered to the doorstep by robots. In some hospitals, robots can show patients the way. In northeast China, skiing robots have been used to help train athletes. In a school in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, a robot capable of playing and instructing Chinese chess is in place to interact with students.
"Service robots are constantly improving the level of social services in catering, retail, logistics distribution, medical rehabilitation, and other fields," said Wang Hong, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
A string of manufacturers like smart device maker Xiaomi and home appliance producer Midea have made forays into the market. By the end of 2021, China had 101 specialized and sophisticated firms that produce novel and unique products in robotics, according to the ministry.
Last year, China's output of service robots reached 9.214 million units, up about 49 percent over 2020.
"China has basically formed a whole industry chain system from robot parts to whole machines, and then to robot applications," Wang said, "The resilience of the industry chain is increasing."
In 2022, demand in education, public services, and other fields becomes the main driving force for the development of service robots, according to a report by the Chinese Institute of Electronics. It is expected that the market size of service robots in China might top 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
According to a joint plan outlined by the MIIT and other government agencies, China will boost high-end robotics products during the 2021-2025 period.
Enterprises are encouraged to set up product experience centers and accelerate the promotion of robots for home services, education, and entertainment, among others, the plan said. ■