Robomaster 2019: Event highlights Chinese youngsters' talents in robotics and AI
The 2019 finals of the Robo-master Championship was held in south China's city of Shenzhen, where young tech-enthusiasts showcased their skills in robotics. Our reporter Ge Yunfei was at the final showdown and files this report.
This past weekend saw China's hottest boy band, the TF Boys, take to the stage in Shenzhen, attracting thousands of fans from across the country.
But just across the street from the main venue, was another band of boys – youngsters putting on a show of robotics.
This is Robomaster 2019, an annual robotics competition for Chinese college students, that comes with an e-sports-like feel.
BAO YUQI ROBOMASTER, CTO "We hope these young engineers can be as glamorous as the TF Boys. The field and profession of engineering can also be very cool. China has plenty of talent in this industry, but we need more engineers in the real economy."
Rotating chassis, mechanical moon rover systems, and auto-targeting cannons. These are the technical elements and tactics that have wowed the audience here.
TAN YIFEI SHANGHAI JIAOTONG UNIVERSITY, PARTICIPANT "To make a good robot, you have to go beyond the theory. We've done many rounds of tests, experiments and verifications to make the robot fully up to its designed functions."
Four years ago, only a few prestigious teams were able to apply a limited level of AI functionality, like image recognition, to their robots. Now, almost all of the metal soldiers squaring off in the arena, have the ability to automatically target and fire at opponents.
BAO YUQI ROBOMASTER, CTO "We've seen significant progress in students' abilities when it comes to using AI. In the next three to five years, we're going to launch an all-AI robot competition. All participating robots will be controlled by artificial intelligence. There will be no human input."
GE YUNFEI SHENZHEN "There are 5000 young engineers participating in this competition. You can feel their dedication and passion in making the best robots. And you can see the future of this country through these young brains."
Though the competition brings in college students, high schoolers are already anticipating their chance to take part. At this summer camp, teenagers from all over the world are exploring the future possibility of becoming an engineer.
Behind this robot craze, is DJI – the world's largest drone manufacturer, who's also based here in Shenzhen.
XIE TIANDI GENERAL PR MANAGER, DJI "It's very important that whether the engineers or high-tech talent enjoy a high social status or not. The society even needs to worship them a little bit. We hope this kind of respect can go beyond the tech community to reach a much larger social base."
Xie says many of the contestants in the first edition of the Robomaster competition, graduated and soon created their own robotics companies. This year, the Northeastern University of China claimed the top prize. And it's perhaps this very stage that will lay the foundation for a bright future in the ever-changing field of robotics. Ge Yunfei, CGTN, Shenzhen.