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The robotics landscape has been growing fast over the last few years, but in order to realise its full potential, it’s necessary to enable the human supervision of large numbers of robots from remote locations: this step will bring us into the era of cloud robotics.
This revolution can be fully realised with the advent of 5G, which will provide the necessary connection for cloud robotics, in a totally mobile way: the 5G-controlled robots will be increasingly pervasive, enabling the creation of a new “Robot ecosystem” composed of UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) fleets.
Reply is actively working in building the enablers for the adoption of a successful 5G cloud robotics approach, supporting customers’ strategies alongside different use cases, from teleoperations to food delivery.
As the types of robots introduced on the market grow, so do the use cases for their application: Reply has identified the most interesting cases and impacts in different scenarios, and is working on it in order to effectively support companies in the implementation of cloud robotics.
Thanks to high throughput and bandwidth of the envisioned 5G architecture, robots like AMRs and UAVs can execute some unmanned patrolling operations, performing surveillance of a defined area and providing plenty of images and sensor data. Reply, which is playing a relevant role in this domain, has signed a strategic partner with Boston Dynamics, global leader in developing mobile robots, in order to support businesses in increasing operational efficiency and ensure safety, and driving process digitisation.
With the support of the 5G network, AMRs and UAVs will be able to process raw data at very high speeds, facilitating real-time decision-making. The performance of the so-called 'computing on the fly' will enable a complete overview of the situation, facilitating very precise and preventive business decisions and reducing the need for human intervention. Drones will incorporate Artificial Intelligence into their routines, identifying products at a glance, without the need to process data from barcodes or other elements.
The 5G-controlled robots are pervading the delivery market and will change the way consumers shop. Within this field, robots make it possible to reduce human labour and increase productivity: their boom has also been facilitated by the coronavirus outbreak, which has made contactless deliveries and social distancing necessary. The first 5G-powered prototypes, such as Foodora's 'Doora' and Amazon's 'Scout', have already been developed for food and parcel delivery.
Focusing on the Logistics market, 5G connectivity turns out to be the key for the automation of operations: thanks to the main 5G “slices”, the Logistics ecosystem is enriched by applications and autonomous systems that improve safety conditions, reduce operation times and enable a new range of end-to-end solutions. Specifically, drones and robots can enhance Logistics operations for three main areas: inventory management, inspection and surveillance, intra-logistics. In this scenario, Reply has implemented a precise methodology aiming for the re-engineering of processes concerning site inspection, video-surveillance, inventory and asset maintenance.
To unlock the Robot as a Service (RaaS) scenario, it is essential to develop a backbone for horizontal cloud robotics platforms, capable of abstracting robotics applications from a single robot instance. The Robotic Operating System framework was designed for this reason: to provide a common ground of understanding to build such platforms on, encouraging the development of horizontal, hardware-independent cloud robotics platforms by some players in the market.
AWS RoboMaker is a service that extends the Robot Operating System (ROS) framework with cloud services, including integration with AWS machine learning, monitoring and analytics services, and enabling robots to do several things on their own. It provides a fully managed and scalable infrastructure for multi-robot management, and a dedicated toolset for simulation.
Google Cloud Robotics Core is an open-source platform that provides essential infrastructure for building and running robotics solutions for business automation. It enables operators to easily manage their robot fleets, including packaging and distribution of applications, bidirectional robot-cloud communication and easy access to Google Cloud Services. It builds upon standard Kubernetes management tools and several open-source packages.
TIM Cloud Robotics Infrastructure is a cloud robotics platform developed by the TIM Innovation Lab, entirely based on the ROS paradigm. Thanks to this platform, it is possible to allow the execution of the 'digital clone' of the physical robot entirely, either in the cloud, or on the robot, or in a hybrid way, thus making it suitable for both large and costly professional robots, both for much simpler, lighter ones.
The Robotics Solution developed by Reply helps customers using Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) in managing and leveraging robots for multiple mission types, e.g. inspections, damage detection, data capture, vision and AI. The solution brings together the complete robot fleet, automatically detects their attached payloads, and allows operators to design missions graphically with built in use cases based on the robot capabilities.
Leveraging on its strong know-how and partnership with cloud providers, telco operators, and players in the robotics industry, Reply can support its customers’ strategy in the robotics adoption journey, enabling the rise of a large set of applications and ecosystem.
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