Cloud computing platform will help robots learn faster

Researchers of five European universities have developed a cloud-computing platform for robots.

The platform allows robots connected to the internet to directly access the computational, storage, and communications infrastructure of modern data centres for robotics tasks and robot learning.

The new RoboEarth Cloud Engine extends earlier work on allowing robots to share knowledge with other robots via a WWW-style database, thereby speeding up robot learning and adaptation in complex tasks.

The developed Platform as a Service (PaaS) for robots allows to perform complex functions like mapping, navigation, or processing of human voice commands in the cloud, at a fraction of the time required by robots’ on-board computers.

By making enterprise-scale computing infrastructure available to any robot with a wireless connection, the researchers believe that the new computing platform will help pave the way towards lighter, cheaper, more intelligent robots.

‘The RoboEarth Cloud Engine is particularly useful for mobile robots, such as drones or autonomous cars, which require lots of computation for navigation. It also offers significant benefits for robot co-workers, such as factory robots working alongside humans, which require large knowledge databases, and for the deployment of robot teams.’ said Mohanarajah Gajamohan, researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and technical lead of the project.

‘On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost.’, added Dr. Heico Sandee, RoboEarth’s program manager at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, ‘With the rapid increase in wireless data rates caused by the booming demand of mobile communications devices, more and more of a robot’s computational tasks can be moved into the cloud.’