Guimu lands key deal to offer robot to vet runway safety at Rome airport

Compared to manned or semi-automatic inspection methods, Guimu's robot-powered runway maintenance can considerably enhance efficiency and operational precision.

A Chinese-made robot capable of checking the safety of airport runway was recently deployed to Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, marking a milestone for Chinese robotics technology in its quest to go global.

Chinese media reported that the robot, the size of an outdoor road sweeper, was developed by Guimu Robot (圭目机器人), a startup based in southwestern China’s Chengdu, in conjunction with Civil Aviation University of China.

The Fiumicino airport began to hold an innovation competition in March this year, inviting companies across the globe to upgrade the airport’s operations through cutting-edge technologies.

A bird’s eye-view of the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy

The contest reportedly drew 500 contestants from more than 80 countries.

One of the winners that emerged through the ranks is Guimu Robot, whose product won the top prize for realizing unmanned, preventive care of the airport runway and tarmac.

A small and giant step forward

This is the first time that a civil aviation-related technology originally from China was applied in a large airport of a major European economy.

Upon being selected as the winner, Guimu Robot sent a team of engineers to Rome to carry out robot-led inspection and maintenance of the airport’s runway.

“The Rome trip is a small and giant step at once for Guimu,” said Gui Zhongcheng, president of the startup. “We also believe this is a significant step for homegrown Chinese civil aviation technologies to expand overseas.”

According to Guimu, its robot is able to scrutinize 15,000 sqm of airport runway per hour.

Besides, it can identify damages and safety hazards in the runway, with an accuracy down to centimeter.

As the robot moves around, it creates a 3D map that reconstructs the runway and its inner structure, paving the way for precise analytics of safety risks on and beneath the surface.

The final results are presented to airport management in the form of self-generated reports.

Enhanced efficiency

Compared to manned or semi-automatic inspection methods, Guimu’s robot-powered runway maintenance can considerably enhance efficiency and operational precision.

The company not just provides robotic inspectors for safety screening at airports. Instead, its offerings include a suite of autonomous vehicles that perform safety checks on vital infrastructure, such as bridge, road and railway.

The firm aims to lead a shift from manned maintenance to predictive, targeted upkeep of infrastructure projects.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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