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China issues guidelines for humanoid robots

by Pieter Werner

Shanghai has introduced China’s inaugural guidelines for humanoid robot governance, emphasizing ‘the protection of human dignity’ and ‘the assurance of human security’. These guidelines were announced at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) and highlight the importance of risk management and international cooperation.

The guidelines were crafted by five industry organizations based in Shanghai, including the Shanghai Law Society and the National and Local Humanoid Robot Innovation Centre, reports the South China Morning post.

Manufacturers are advised to establish risk warning systems, emergency response protocols, and provide training on the ethical and legal use of humanoid robots. Additionally, the guidelines propose the creation of a global governance framework and an international think tank to oversee the industry.

During the WAIC, various robotics firms exhibited their latest advancements. Tesla introduced the second generation of its humanoid robot, Optimus, featuring Tesla’s proprietary neural network and computer vision technologies. Although Optimus is not yet in full-scale production, it attracted significant attention despite being displayed behind glass without interaction. Chinese exhibitors dominated the conference, with 18 humanoid robots on display, showcasing advancements aimed at creating functional and affordable robots.

Leju Robot, a company based in Shenzhen, presented its Kuavo robot, operating on an operating system based on Huawei’s OpenHarmony. China’s strategy includes achieving mass production of humanoid robots by 2025 and becoming a global leader in the sector by 2027. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), humanoid robots are expected to drive economic growth, particularly in healthcare, home services, agriculture, and logistics.

In a broader context, Chinese firms have been aggressively pursuing advancements in AI to achieve technological independence. Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that from 2014 to 2023, Chinese companies filed six times more generative AI patents than their US counterparts.

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