A cloud computing platform for robots
11 March 2013
A cloud-computing platform allows robots connected to the Internet to directly access the powerful computational, storage, and communications infrastructure of modern data centres.
With the development of the RoboEarth Cloud Engine, a team of researchers from five European universities is intent on creating an Internet for robots. The new platform extends earlier work on allowing robots to share knowledge with other robots via a WWW-style database, greatly speeding up robot learning and adaptation in complex tasks.
The developed 'Platform as a Service' (PaaS) for robots allows complex functions like mapping, navigation, or processing of human voice commands to be performed in the cloud, at a fraction of the time required by the robots' own on-board computers. By making enterprise-scale computing infrastructure available to any robot with a wireless connection, the researchers believe that the new computing platform will help pave the way towards lighter, cheaper, more intelligent robots.
"The RoboEarth Cloud Engine is particularly useful for mobile robots, such as drones or autonomous cars, which require lots of computation for navigation, says Mohanarajah Gajamohan, researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and Technical Lead of the project. "It also offers significant benefits for robot co-workers, such as factory robots working alongside humans, which require large knowledge databases, and for the deployment of robot teams."
"On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost.", says Dr. Heico Sandee, RoboEarth’s Program Manager at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, "With the rapid increase in wireless data rates caused by the booming demand of mobile communications devices, more and more of a robot’s computational tasks can be moved into the cloud."
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