Amazon releases Robomaker, a platform to test and deploy robotic applications

Robot Operating System (ROS) will be integrated into AWS services and given full cloud capabilities.

0 November 28, 2018
Devin Jones

Robomaker

A depiction of the Robomaker logo from Amazon.

Recently, Amazon announced Robomaker, a service that allows developers to create, test and deploy robotic applications through their Amazon Web Service (AWS).

Acting as a toolkit of sorts, Amazon touts Robomaker as a one-stop shop – providing machine learning and monitoring/analytics services integrated into AWS via the widely used open-source robotics software framework, Robot Operating System (ROS).

“When talking to our customers, we see the same pattern repeated over and again,” said Roger Barga, General Manager, AWS RoboMaker. “They spend a lot of time setting up infrastructure and cobbling together software for different stages of the robotics development cycle, repeating work others have done before, leaving less time for innovation.”

Barga went on to say that RoboMaker “Provides pre-built functionality to support robotics developers during their entire project, making it significantly easier to build robots, simulate performance in various environments, iterate faster and drive greater innovation.”

So what does this actually mean?

One take away is the cloud capabilities for ROS and its integration with other AWS services like Amazon Rekognition for image and video analysis, Lex for speech recognition, Polly for speech generation and Amazon CloudWatch for logging and monitoring.

Following Amazon’s logic, developers will be able to off-load resource-intensive data processes typically reserved for intelligent robotics applications. The other AWS extensions will work as open source packages, allowing developers to build functions on their robot within a native ecosystem.

Amazon is touting four key features/development arenas for Robomaker. These include the aforementioned ROS cloud integration, a development environment that allows for building and editing robotics applications through AWS’ Cloud9; a simulation service supporting large-scale simulations and pre-built 3D environments, and a “fleet management service that has robot registry, security and fault-tolerance built-in so that you can deploy, perform OTA updates,”  throughout the robots lifecycle.

ROS was created in 2007 as an amalgamation of other open-source robotic software frameworks including switchyard by the Stanford’s  AI lab as a part of the Stanford AI Robot STAIR (Stanford AI Robot) project. By 2009, ROS.org went live and in December of that year, the first set of tutorials were released. Soon after, in January of 2010, ROS 1.0 was released to the public.

“We have been evaluating AWS RoboMaker for our line of Furo robots, used in public venues for guest services, information and entertainment,” says CEO and founder of Future Robot. “Through this evaluation, we’ve discovered that the RoboMaker cloud extensions have provided us with a comprehensive set of intelligence features that can be leveraged with little development effort because they easily integrate into our existing ROS application.”

www.aws.amazon.com/robomaker/


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