Travelling to China? Your Customs Agent Could be a Robot

QIHAN’s Sanbot humanoid robot deployed to aid customs workers at Gongbei Port of Entry.

Last month, customs officials at the Gongbei Port of Entry began using Sanbot, a humanoid robot designed and built by QIHAN Technology Company, to help increase efficiency, security and customer experience at the busy border crossing.

According to QIHAN, Sanbot is a service robot powered by a cloud-enabled app ecosystem designed to be deployed in a wide variety of settings including retail locations, schools, hospitals and more.

“The use of Sanbot by Gongbei Customs demonstrates just how versatile Sanbot’s AI platform truly is,” said Zhuang Yongjun, chief technology officer at QIHAN. “We truly believe that robots like Sanbot have the potential to change how service industries operate–and that includes helping customs workers operate and secure ports around the globe. By equipping Sanbot with an incredibly powerful, cloud-based development platform, QIHAN has been able to allow our partners at Gongbei Customs to tailor Sanbot’s capabilities and behaviors to the needs of their specific use case.”

Gongbei Port of Entry is the main border crossing between Macau and mainland China and is the largest land port in China. In 2013, more than 99 million people were processed through Gongbei. Currently, fifty Sanbot units are being used at the port.

“With thousands of travelers passing through each day, Gongbei Customs is always looking for new solutions to help us ensure that service is fast and our borders remain secure–Sanbot fit that mold perfectly,” said Zhao Min, director of Gongbei Customs. “Working with QIHAN, we were able to create the perfect version of Sanbot for our needs. Travelers who interact with Sanbot are left with a memorable experience that makes their time at Gongbei more enjoyable and more efficient.”

Taking advantage of Sanbot’s extensible cloud platform–which QIHAN describes as the cornerstone of its Robotics-as-a-Service model–customs officials are able to equip Sanbot with new functionality including the ability to answer passengers’ questions in 28 different languages, perform facial recognition to help detect potential security threats and alert human workers of questions and tasks outside its capabilities.

According to QIHAN, Sanbot is able to deliver effective, personalized communications and service at heavily trafficked installations like Gongbei Port of Entry. Using a set of AI algorithms, the Sanbot units at Gongbei have been programmed to respond to over 3,000 commonly asked questions and provide guidance on local laws and regulations to travelers crossing the border.

For more information, visit the Sanbot website.

To see what happens when a service robot defies its masters, find out why an escaped Russian robot was arrested at a political rally.