Cloud Robotics : Are we there yet?

Can robotics make use of cloud computing?

If the answer is “No” then please read this article “the Cloud Robotics: Connected to the Cloud, Robots Get Smarter” at IEE Spectrum. Robotics scientifics are are exploring the idea of robots that rely on cloud-computing infrastructure to access vast amounts of processing power and data.

In fact, cloud robotics has been around for sometimes and has great potential in future. Like any cloud computing services today, such as Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) etc., we’ll soon have robotics cloud services in near future. For example, in future, robots do not require certain complex modules, such as vision understanding or speech recognition, running on their on board PC. Instead, these robots will be connected to the cloud, where vision understanding service  or speech recognition are running as service, to perform certain tasks. Most extensive processing (for vision understanding or speech recognition) will be carried out on the cloud and results will be sent to respective robots. Such cloud robotics services will have tremendous advantages, such as sharing robotics diffirent modules as services, improving battery life due to less processing on the on board PC, ease of robotics development, only require low cost PC, etc.  However, there are some technical challenges , such as appropriate cloud robotics architectures, real time request-response, security etc.

Regardless of advantages or disadvantages of cloud robotics, its time to design and develop some cloud robotics services. Researchers at Singapore’s ASORO laboratory have built a cloud computing infrastructure. At LAAS, Florent Lamiraux , Jean-Paul Laumond, and colleagues are creating object databases for robots to simplify the planning of manipulation tasks like opening a door. Gostai, a French robotics firm, has built a cloud robotics infrastructure callled GostaiNet, which allows a robot to perform speech recognition, face detection, and other tasks remotely. And many more…. so let’s not wait, let’s get our hands dirty.

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