The Beijing Winter Olympic impressed the world with the world’s first robot torch relay under the ice

On 2 February, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic torch relay kicked off, with 416 torchbearers participating in the relay over a distance of over 20 kilometres. What makes this relay unique from the previous ones is the debut of underwater robot runners in Olympic history, setting a flag to the advanced nature of China’s technology.

Two robot runners completed the torch relay underwater for the first time in history. This not only presented a splendid scene of Olympic flame lighting up the underwater world but also demonstrated China’s advanced eco-friendly technologies.

The designing team explained that they innovatively used gaseous fuel to get rid of smoke pollution while keeping the dynamic movement of the flame in the water. This relay marks a significant breakthrough from the previous solid fuel underwater torch used by some foreign teams and shows the extent to which our technological advancements have progressed in such a small number of years.

“Precise docking and ignition in the icy water is the most exciting and difficult part of the robot relay. It is fair to say that the expertise required for this mission was not easier than the capsule docking in the space,” said Dr. Tian Qiyan, the project leader. The R&D team spent nine months developing the core technologies required in this task, something that could have further applications within several markets in the near future.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Beijing Winter Olympics becomes a showcase of China’s high-tech power and national pride. From green digital logistics, supported by Alibaba, to robot food and beverage delivery throughout the Winter Olympics, Beijing is ready to impress the world with its rapid-developing technical power and its determination to become a world technological power by 2049.

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