Rokae’s cobot arm steals thunder at Didi’s launch of concept car

Although it's the first time the startup's cobot is publicly seen being used for human-machine interaction inside a vehicle, it is no stranger to the automobile sector.

Didi (滴滴), China’s largest ride-sharing platform, yesterday unveiled its self-driving concept car model Neuron, marking the firm’s foray into the already competitive EV market.

But aside from what the company touted as its L4 autonomous driving technology during its Open Day event, Neuron’s biggest highlight is arguably a robotic arm deployed inside the model’s cabin.

In a video clip posted online, Zhang Bo, CTO and CEO of Didi’s autonomous driving business unit, is seen sitting inside Neuron and interacting with the robotic arm.

According to multiple sources, the robotic arm is provided by Beijing-headquartered robotic startup Rokae (珞石机器人), one of the most established cobot manufacturers in China.

Rokae reportedly supplied a product belonging to its xMate ER series to showcase how robotics can perform tasks such as handling luggage, handing over bottled water and making wake-up calls.

The ER series consists of four models featuring six and seven degrees of freedom. With a working radius of 760mm or 850mm, the robot boasts a payload of 3kg or 7kg, according to a brochure of Rokae products.

Although it’s the first time the startup’s cobot is publicly seen being used for human-machine interaction inside a vehicle, it is no stranger to the automobile sector.

Rokae said its xMate flexible cobots are now widely adopted in sectors such as auto and auto parts, 3C, semiconductor, metal and plastic processing, scientific research, commercial services and healthcare, with a purpose to elevate output and quality, achieve flexible manufacturing and enhance personnel safety.

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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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