Robots join rescue in quake zone

The bird eye view photo taken on a helicopter shows the quake-destroyed houses in Taiping Town of Lushan County in Ya’an City, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, April 20, 2013.

By Guo Likun

Three types of disaster relief robots have been dispatched to quake-hit areas in the country’s southwest Sichuan Province, according to the Shenyang Institute of Automation on Sunday.

The robots were rushed to the quake zone in batches. The first batch, including a robot and three technicians arrived at the quake epicenter Lushan County at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the institute.

Two other robots are expected to reach the quake zone on Sunday night or Monday morning, the institute said.

“This is the first time these three types of robots will be used in an earthquake rescue and relief mission,” the institute said in a statement.

Two of the robots are designed to enter ruins to detect life, while the third type, a flying robot, uses a high-definition camera to catch aerial images and send them instantly to relief departments.

The robots were jointly developed by the Shenyang Institute of Automation, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Earthquake Response Support Service.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan County at 8:02 a.m. Saturday Beijing time. The quake had claimed 186 lives and left more than 10,000 injured as of Sunday afternoon.

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