Chipmaker Qualcomm’s latest 5G and AI-driven advanced robotics platform RB5, will drive the growth of next-generation low-power robots and drones, with the aim of disrupting the robotics industry.
Automation is pushing technological advances in every industry. From supply chain, healthcare to employment and entertainment, automation has intelligently impacted every sector. Deloitte’s Automation with Intelligence Insights revealsOpens a new window by 2024, the automation business will reach $5 billion. Correspondingly, another report forecastsOpens a new window that over 40% of companies will implement AI projects by 2025. With companies moving ahead on the path to intelligent automation, Qualcomm has launched a powerful and intelligent robotics platform, RB5, which is supercharged with advanced technologies such as 5G, and AI.
RB5 is the successor of the company’s last year’s launchOpens a new window , the RB3 chipset, which was developed to create next-gen industrial robotics products. RB5 includes a set of hardware, software, and development tools to develop advanced, high compute AI-powered low-power robots and drones connected by 5G for consumer, enterprise, and industrial use cases.
Dev Singh, Senior Director, Business Development and Head of Autonomous Robotics saysOpens a new window that the RB5 platform is set to help grow the space transformatively. â€œ[It will] accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments, such as,Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR), delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases, and laying the foundation for the UAV Traffic Management (UTM) space.â€
Decoding the RB5 Robotics Platform
RB5 is built on the company’s QRB5165 processor, Octa-Core Kryo 585 CPU, and Adreno 650 GPU which provides a powerful heterogeneous computing architecture. Moreover, the platform supports the Qualcomm AI Engine with a new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, which can deliver 15 TOPS (tera operations per second) of AI performance for running complex AI and deep learning workloads on lower power and accurate edge inferencing. Designed for robotics applications, the chip features Qualcomm Spectraâ„¢ 480 Image Signal Processor (ISP) that can process 200-megapixel photos, 8K video recording, and 4K HDR video capture for 7 cameras at the same time. With its latest launch, Qualcomm didn’t compromise at any level, even collaborating with the Japanese electronics company TDK, to develop robust sensor and motor control hardware for enhanced robotics applications.
Moving on to the software element, the platform supports Linux, Ubuntu, and Robot Operating System (ROS) operation systems. It comes with QualcommÂ® Neural Processing SDK to optimize deep learning processing, machine vision, and obstacle detection. The platform also offers QualcommÂ® Secure Processing Unit, vault-like security to safeguard biometric data such as facial data, iris scan.
A Developer’s Delight
To reduce time and complexities around development, the chipmakerOpens a new window even offers a comprehensive, customizable robotics development kit. The kit supports various computer languages and applications such as OpenCL, OpenGLES, and OpenCV. Furthermore, it offers pre-integrated drivers for cameras, sensors, and 5G connectivity and is compliant with 96Boards hardware specifications that can be used to develop innovative prototypes. With the RB5 development kit, developers can develop collaborative robots, inspection, inventory robots, AMR, and delivery robots.
Anshel Sag, Tech Analyst at Moor Insight Strategy, believes that the latest robotics platform will deliver next-gen robots and services.
Mark is right, however I also believe that @QualcommOpens a new window â€˜s #RB5Opens a new window with #5GOpens a new window is very likely going to enable some next-gen robots and services that we simply cannot even fathom yet with it’s #AIOpens a new window performance and support for so many cameras.
â€” Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) June 17, 2020Opens a new window
This is not the first time a company has developed a robotics platform powered by AI. Qualcomm’s biggest competitor could be NVIDIA’s ISAAC platform; however, Qualcomm made an intelligent move by adding 5G to its platform. Also, its deep expertise in connectivity and AI and a plethora of partners developing software and hardware for the platform including Intel, DeepEdge.ai, Open Robotics, and DreamVu is proof that the latest RB5 platform has been developed with a view to transform the automation industry.