Although the US school grounds have been blocked to prevent the spread of COVID-19, China is fighting back from the peak of its outbreak – actively relying on the latest mobile technologies to support ongoing screening efforts. This week, the Beijing Institute of Technology deployed a robotic 5G surveillance car on its campus that a remote operator can use to safely monitor visitors remotely and perform package deliveries.
As shown in pictures by the Chinese state press agency Xinhua, the vehicle is too small for an adult to fit in, but large enough to hold a combination of packages, telecommunications equipment, and AV equipment. In basic shipping mode, boxes can be transported from one location to another, opening one of the four side locker doors so that people can manually retrieve packages. It also has a top-mounted camera that can rotate to look at pedestrians, identify them through facial recognition, and thermally scan their temperatures.
There are at least two ways to see what the 5G vehicle sees. The rear of the vehicle has a large integrated display that allows a security guard to carry out personal face or temperature monitoring when the car is parked. Alternatively, a security officer in a remote office can monitor camera output live over the high-speed 5G cellular connection.
The 5G vehicle is part of the KuGaea Kun series developed by Cool High Technology, a Beijing-based manufacturer of autonomous drones and cars. A self-driving version that uses Beijing's more than 300 miles of self-driving test streets has been certified for Baidu's autonomous Apollo open vehicle platform.
The use of the 5G vehicle by the Beijing Institute of Technology is not China's first application of next-generation network technology for corona virus screening and security. Back in January, ZTE launched a remote-controlled 5G diagnostic and treatment system to help experts in Chengdu provide medical assistance on site, and then to Wuhan, which is over 700 miles away. China is currently one of the world's leading providers of 5G rollout after reaching initial “national” coverage in 50 cities in 2019 and promising to cover all 300 cities at the prefecture level by the end of 2020.