Introducing Amazon's Cloud Robotics Platform: AWS RoboMaker

Amazon has long established itself as a giant in the retail industry, and now the company is trying to cement its name in the tech industry, as well. Automation is one of its main goals, with the delivery drone Prime Air as the perfect example. The goal is to transport packages within an hour upon ordering.

Following their interest in the robotics space, the company’s subsidiary, Amazon Web Services (AWS), launched the AWS RoboMaker last year. In the words of AWS, the AWS RoboMaker is “a service that makes it easy to develop, test, and deploy intelligent robotics applications at scale.” In short, it is a one-stop platform for building robots and developing code via the cloud.

Like most robots, it runs on the Robot Operating System or ROS which is a collection of software frameworks specifically created for developing robotic software. One of the main benefits of the ROS that makes it the perfect fit for the RoboMaker is that it is the most widely used open-source framework in the world. It has a vast software library intended to help build robots and related applications much easier and, not to mention faster.

The AWS RoboMaker has four core functions – cloud extensions for the ROS, a development environment, simulation services, and an over-the-air (OTA) fleet management system.

  • Cloud extensions for the ROS allow manufacturers to offload data to the cloud instead of maxing out local resources. The extensions also make integration with AWS services uncomplicated. These include Amazon:

  • Lex for speech recognition and natural language understanding

  • Amazon Rekognition for analysis of objects and images

  • and Amazon Kinesis for extracting data from real-time video streams.

  • The development environment is a work space where manufacturers can edit and run their applications. It comes with pre-installed versions of the ROS that users can use as their template.

  • Of course, robotics applications need to be tested in the real world, and this is where simulation comes in. This third component gives the users the option to simulate real-world scenarios without the need to deploy physical hardware right away. This allows for the designers to carry out any modifications to minimize risks and to ensure long-term success.

  • Lastly, fleet management involves registering the robots, their security, and fault-tolerance. The AWS RoboMaker is capable of updating or debugging your fleet of robots OTA.

Eventually, automation and cloud robotics will be rolled out across the globe because of their many advantages across a myriad of industries. ZDNet described that they makes operations seamless and communication more efficient, on top of the access to vast storage spaces. It is also exciting for fellow learners and manufacturers to see that robotics is becoming more and more within our reach.

The arrival of the AWS RoboMaker is further proof that software development is booming right now. In fact, Maryville University revealed data that projects 17% more jobs will be made available in the field from 2014 to 2024.

At the start of that 10-year period, there were approximately 1.1 million software developers. This number is expected to double by 2024 when you take into account all ‘computer-related jobs’.

You are never too young or too old to start tinkering with machines or code. Your passion for building robots may someday turn into a lucrative career in a constantly growing industry.

The bottom line is that the AWS RoboMaker is a breakthrough platform in cloud robotics, whether it is for professional roboticists or hobbyists.

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