Qualcomm made its RB3 announcement at the 2019 Mobile World Congress. Source: Fira Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain — Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., today announced at the Mobile World Congress here its Qualcomm Robotics RB3Platform – the company’s first integrated, comprehensive offering designed specifically for robotics. Building on Qualcomm Technologies’ success in robotics and drone products, this purpose-built platform features a highly optimized set of hardware, software and tools designed to help manufacturers and developers create the next generation of advanced consumer, enterprise, and industrial robotics products.
Based on the Qualcomm SDA/SDM845 system-on-chip (SoC), the platform integrates key capabilities such as high-performance heterogeneous computing, 4G/LTE connectivity including CBRS support for private LTE networks, and a Qualcomm AI Engine for on-device machine learning and computer vision. It also includes high-fidelity sensor processing for perception; odometry for localization, mapping, and navigation; vault-like security; and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform will also introduce 5G connectivity support later this year to further enable low-latency and high-throughput industrial robotics applications.
“Our technologies are at the heart of a wide array of robotics products available today, from companion robots including Anki Vector, ElliQ, and Sony Aibo, to multimedia robots like Cerevo Tripon and Keecker, to labor-saving machines such as robotic vacuum cleaners from iRobot, Ecovacs, and Panasonic,” said Dev Singh, director of business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies.
“With the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform, we aim to bring our cutting-edge AI, edge compute and connectivity technologies into the hands of many more robotics innovators to help spur the fast development and commercialization of a new generation of useful and intelligent robots in agriculture, consumer, delivery, inspection, service, smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0, warehousing and logistics, and other applications,” he added.
The Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform is designed to allow for flexible design options for development and commercialization, from development board offerings for prototyping, to off-the-shelf system-on-module solutions for faster commercialization, to the flexibility for chip-on-board designs for cost optimization at scale.
The platform currently supports Linux and the Robot Operating System (ROS). It also supports the Qualcomm Neural Processing software development kit (SDK) for advanced on-device AI, the Qualcomm Computer Vision Suite, the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP SDK, and Amazon’s AWS RoboMaker. The company said it has plans for Ubuntu Linux support.
The Qualcomm Robotics development kit is based on the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 platform.
The platform’s hardware development kit contains the new purpose-built robotics-focused DragonBoard 845c development board. It is based on the Qualcomm SDA/SDM845 SoC and is compliant with the 96Boards open hardware specification. As a result, it can support a broad range of mezzanine-board expansions.
Optional elements for the kit include a connectivity board, as well as an image camera for superb hi-res photo, 4K video capture, and AI-assisted detection and recognition of people and objects. It also offers a tracking camera for path planning and obstacle avoidance using visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM); a stereo camera for navigation; and a time-of-flight camera for people, gesture and object detection even in low-light conditions.
Key Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform technical features include:
“We are delighted to be working with Qualcomm Technologies to help developers easily build intelligent robotics functions using AWS cloud services and then deploy their application onto a commercial grade, scalable hardware platform,” said Roger Barga, general manager of AWS Robotics and Automation Services at Amazon Web Services Inc. “Our collaboration is designed to give robotics developers a complete cloud-to-the-edge solution, accelerating development, providing intelligence out of the box, and easing robotic lifecycle management.”
Qualcomm is helping robotics developers push processing to the edge in industrial IoT. Source: Qualcomm
“As the creators of BrainOS, the leading solution for the development, deployment, and management of mobile robots, we’re excited to see Qualcomm Technologies get involved in the space in a major way,” said Dr. Jean Baptiste Passot, vice president of platform and AI at Brain Corp. “We’ve expanded BrainOS to be optimized with the Qualcomm SDM845 and look forward to exploring the potential of the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform for our future products.”
“JD.com believes that the combination of industry and technology can create infinite possibilities for digitalization,” said Yazhuo Wang, general manager of the Innovation Product Department, JD.com IoT Business Group. “We look forward to the new generation of Qualcomm Technologies’ Robotics Platform, which will help us develop more efficient and intelligent service robots through advanced technologies such as deep learning algorithms.”
“OrionStar is excited to see Qualcomm Technologies launch the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform with cutting-edge AI, edge computing and connectivity technologies, which enables robots to benefit from the latest innovations in mobile technology,” said Fu Sheng, Chairman and CEO of Cheetah Mobile Inc. and founder of OrionStar. “Based on previous successful cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies on our service robotics, OrionStar looks forward to continuing to work with Qualcomm Technologies to provide consumers with a new wave of innovative, smart, and power-efficient useful robots.”
“Contributing high-performance sensors to the next wave of robotics innovations on the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform is a collaboration made in heaven,” explained Nicolas Sauvage, senior director, ecosystem, at TDK-InvenSense. “Working together, Qualcomm Technologies and TDK-InvenSense have helped reduce the barrier to entry for both consumer and industrial makers, while maximizing their opportunities to innovate with a wide range of sensor solutions.”
Qualcomm said it expects commercial products based on the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform to be available in 2019. Both NAVER and LG are evaluating the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform. They plan to showcase select robotics products based on the platform early next year.
Additional early users are expected to be Anki, Brain Corp., JD, Misty Robotics, OrionStar, Robotis, and others. A development kit based on the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform is available for purchase now from Thundercomm.
For more information and to start developing products based on the platform, please visit Thundercomm.