Qualcomm unveils RB6 platform and RB5 AMR reference design

The Robot Report
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Qualcomm’s newest products, the RB6 Platform (left) and AMR RB5 reference design (right). | Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm announced the availability of its Robotics RB6 Platform and the RB5 Reference Design. The two products help to bring advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G to robotics, drones and intelligence machines. 

The RB6 Platform is made up of both hardware and software development tools. RB6 can help developers more quickly create intelligent robotics, and has several advantages over the company’s previous iterations of the platform. 

“Imagine if Uber had to build their own phone to build the Uber app, it would be so backwards, right?” Dev Singh, the head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm, said. “So if somebody is going to adopt a robot and build services on top of it, say a delivery service or self scanning service, we are giving them a turnkey solution that can do all of that.” 

Qualcomm’s RB6 platform provides more AI inferencing horsepower, allows developers to work with more cameras and more quickly communicate with robots in the field. It also has an AI software development kit (SDK) called the Qualcomm Intelligent Multimedia SDK. Altogether the platform will help robots operate more safely in more environments. 

“To have a robot on a city street, the amount of obstacles and hazards that it needs to avoid to work safely, it requires a whole new level of autonomous intelligence,” Dev Singh, the head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm, said. “And more importantly, they need to be safer.”

Qualcomm’s technology aims at helping developers create robots that can go more places faster, something that delivery robot companies, like Berlin-based robotic delivery company TERAKI, can particularly benefit from. 

“If the detection and classification of objects is taking too much time, it’s a safety issue.” TERAKI CEO and co-founder Daniel Richart said. “So there we see Qualcomm’s platform helping in passing very strict safety requirements.” 

TERAKI recently began deliveries with Domino’s Pizza on the streets of Berlin. It’s sidewalk delivery robots autonomously navigate the streets to perform last-mile deliveries. Richart also highlighted how important power efficiency is for battery powered robots like theirs, and that Qualcomm’s platform provides the power efficiency TERAKI’s robots need to complete deliveries. 

Qualcomm’s other newest product, the RB5 autonomous mobile robot (AMR) reference design, offers tightly integrated enhanced AI and 5G capabilities, setting it apart from other reference designs. 

“It comes with all the sensors that are needed for obstacle avoidance. It comes with the cameras precalibrated, and it comes with the 360 degree obstacle avoidance, and a few other things,” Singh said. “So, if you’re a startup company, if you’re a university student, or if you’re even a new robot developer, this is a tremendous time saver.” 

According to Singh, the design can reduce time to market by anywhere from six to 18 months depending on the users robotics knowledge.

In particular, Singh emphasized the role all of Qualcomm’s products can play in bringing a product to scale for the market. 

“You see a lot of these startups making proof of concept robots with off-the-shelf products. They can make them do those cool demos, but when they scale to production and manufacturing, they need a scalable solution that is secure, power efficient and has everything fully integrated.”

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Source: therobotreport

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