One of the most useful things about robots, we are told by the companies developing them, is that they can do the work that is too manual, repetitive and dangerous for humans. That last part is being put to the test in China, where robots have been spotted delivering food to quarantined people amid that country’s rapidly escalating Coronavirus outbreak.
The UK’s Daily Star reports that a hotel in Hangzhou, China, more than 200 tourists were being isolated after a flight arrived carrying some passengers from Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak.
Staff at the quarantined hotel dispatched 16 robots, one for each floor of the building, to deliver food to people in an effort to limit cross contamination. A video posted to the China Trends YouTube channel two days ago shows the robot, calling itself “peanut,” rolling down the hotel hallway, announcing its presence as people pop out from their rooms to grab food.
One assumes/hopes that each robot is also getting a good scrubdown after each trip.
There are nearly 6,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in mainland China, and 132 people have died. Roughly 60 million people are on lockdown in China.
The fact that robots are being put to use in this way would be pretty cool if it wasn’t so deadly serious. But it does highlight how robots can be used in situations that are hazardous to humans and help save lives (everyone needs to eat). Hopefully, more robots will be employed to limit human exposure to the virus, and we’ll be able to apply lessons learned here to help curb this and future outbreaks.