Amazon Web Services Announces AWS RoboMaker

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Amazon Web Services Announces AWS RoboMaker

Amazon Web Services, Inc. announced the availability of AWS-RoboMaker, a new service that makes it easy for developers to develop, test, and deploy robotics applications, as well as build intelligent robotics functions using cloud services. AWS RoboMaker extends the most widely used open source robotics software framework, Robot Operating System (ROS), with connectivity to AWS services including machine learning, monitoring, and analytics services to enable a robot to stream data, navigate, communicate, comprehend, and learn. AWS RoboMaker provides an AWS Cloud9-based robotics integrated development environment for application development, robotics simulation to accelerate application testing, and fleet management for remote application deployment, update, and management.

Robots are machines that sense, compute, and take action. More and more, robots are becoming and inspecting pipelines, smokestacks, and high-voltage wires in dangerous industrial environments. Robots accomplish these tasks through instructions expressed in software applications that receive and process sensor data and control actuators that create movement and action. Developing, testing, and deploying robotics applications is difficult, time consuming, and demands a diverse set of hard-to-acquire skills. For example, implementing intelligent robotics functions like object recognition, natural language processing, or autonomous movement requires the machine learning knowledge of a data scientist. Setting up a development environment takes days of configuring the infrastructure and software. Creating realistic simulators to test robotics applications in multiple virtual environments takes months to build the software and infrastructure needed to run multiple simulations in parallel. Once an application has been completed, a developer still needs to either build or integrate with an over-the-air (OTA) system to deploy the application onto the robot and then update the application on the robot while it is in use. All of this effort limits the number of robots and intelligent functions in use today.

AWS RoboMaker addresses these challenges by providing an integrated set of software and services for customers to develop, test, and deploy intelligent robotics applications at scale. Within the AWS RoboMaker robotics development environment, developers can start application development with a single click in the AWS Management Console. AWS RoboMaker automatically provisions the underlying infrastructure and it downloads, compiles, and configures the operating system, development software, and ROS. The robotics simulation makes it easy to set up large-scale and parallel simulations with pre-built worlds, such as indoor rooms, retail stores, and racing tracks, so developers can test their applications on-demand and run multiple simulations in parallel. AWS RoboMaker’s fleet management integrates with AWS Greengrass and supports over-the-air (OTA) deployment of robotics applications from the development environment onto the robot.

When talking to our customers, we see the same pattern repeated over and again. They spend a lot of time setting up infrastructure and cobbling together software for different stages of the robotics development cycle, repeating work others have done before, leaving less time for innovation,

said Roger Barga, General Manager, AWS RoboMaker.

AWS RoboMaker provides pre-built functionality to support robotics developers during their entire project, making it significantly easier to build robots, simulate performance in various environments, iterate faster, and drive greater innovation.

AWS has made source code and documentation of the AWS RoboMaker cloud extensions for ROS publicly available under the terms of the Apache Software License 2.0. AWS contributes to the development of the latest version of ROS and is a member of the ROS2 Technical Steering Committee. AWS’s contributions to ROS2 include real-time messaging, security, and authentication, as well as working with the robotics community to migrate source code packages from ROS1 to ROS2.

We are planning to use autonomous ground vehicles and drones to make the construction industry more productive while reducing construction rework costs. Using a variety of imaging sensors, the collected data can be used to create 3D site models for planning and streamlining construction activities,

said Hamid Montazeri, VP of SW Engineering and Robotics at Stanley Black & Decker.

With AWS RoboMaker, we are able to easily test the robotics related software applications in a cloud environment, and rapidly generate synthetic imaging data to train our 3D site model creation algorithms. AWS RoboMaker also provides the ideal fleet management solution for use on ground vehicles and drones. The integration between AWS RoboMaker fleet management and AWS Greengrass makes it really easy to enable communications among ground vehicles, drones, and IoT solutions.

AWS RoboMaker is currently available in some US-Regions and Ireland and will expand to additional regions in the coming year.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: AWS

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