Qualcomm RB6 robotics platform
Qualcomm is actively involved in robotics. At its 5G Summit event, the company announced a new robotics platform that serves as a turnkey development kit for building autonomous mobile robots and drones using 5G and advanced AI to improve next-generation battery life.
Specifically, this could lead to huge changes in the growing market for autonomous mobile robots and the corporate drone market. The space is now dominated by a few robotics companies that build autonomous mobile robots or boxed drone solutions and rent them out on a service model. Qualcomm’s robust development kit and core robotics architecture could open up the playing field, allowing companies to do more customization for specific customers and develop robotics in-house.
“Building on the successful growth and popularity of Qualcomm Technologies’ advanced robotics solutions, our expanded solution roadmap will help improve AI and 5G technologies to support smarter, safer and new advances in robotics, drones and smart machines,” said Dev Singh, Sr. Director of Business Development and Head of Autonomous Robotics, Drones and Smart Machines at Qualcomm Technologies.
5G, the entry point to robotics
Qualcomm is using 5G rollout as an entry point into robotics. With the speed and bandwidth it offers, 5G will have a big impact on autonomous systems. One of the current real-world limitations of autonomy is the high cost of on-board processing power, and coordination between multiple autonomous platforms is highly dependent on high-speed networks. Cloud solutions fill this gap, but network issues slow down development and deployment.
The advent of 5G should mark the beginning of a new stage in the development of autonomous systems, in particular corporate drones. Qualcomm has taken notice, and its RB6 platform makes it a powerful new player in the robotics market. This scalable platform delivers state-of-the-art AI and video processing capabilities (essential for navigation and computer vision) powered by the Qualcomm AI Engine with support for 70-200 trillion operations per second (TOPS).
The integration of 5G and AI makes the platform ideal for developers of industrial use cases in industries such as government applications, logistics, healthcare, retail, warehousing, agriculture, construction, and utilities. All of these are expected growth areas for robotics.
In addition to the robotic platform, Qualcomm also unveiled an autonomous mobile robot reference design called RB5 AMR, which is a small wheeled robot designed for parcel delivery and material handling.