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Bridging the Autonomy Gap - Part 2

Florian Pestoni

In Part 1 of this article, we discussed in some detail some of the limitations of AI and autonomous systems. The key takeaway is that autonomy is relative, and there continues to be a need for human interaction and direction.

At InOrbit, we are harnessing the power of the cloud and the edge to bring automation and efficiency to the operation of distributed robot fleets. It consists of four O’s, which of course we think of as concentric orbits.

It all starts with Observability. Robots can easily generate terabytes of data per day. The needs for access to the data also vary significantly, from robot health monitoring to teleoperation. Making the necessary data available and actionable requires careful balancing of resources such as computation, storage and network. We address this with what we call adaptive diagnostics, and it’s a key part of our very special sauce. The data captured in the cloud includes time series data, logs, video and costmaps, to name a few.

Once the detailed operational data is available, we can build on it to drive Optimization of the actual deployments. This can range from categorizing problem areas to identifying the root cause of an issue. We also help drive improvements in some key business metrics, such as the Total Cost of Ownership/Operation (TCO) for our customers.

The next orbit is Orchestration. We believe that real world problems will be tackled by a variety of task-specific machines, vs. general purpose robots. A large construction site may need a different mix (ranging from heavy autonomous earth movers to inspection robots that can crawl into confined spaces) than an e-commerce distribution center (self-driving forklifts, de-palletizers, inventory management drones). Operating all these machines together, including managing robot-to-robot (R2R) and human-to-robot (H2R) coordination, requires a new layer of cloud software. InOrbit can provide a single pane of glass to manage all this complexity.

Building on all of the above is Operation. Robots in the field require different levels of monitoring and interventions. In order to enable this at scale, InOrbit provides managed services for level 1 and level 2 support, augmented through our AI and data platform. This allows robotics companies to focus on improving the core software for their specific application.

This week we will be demonstrating our solution at RoboBusiness, the premier trade show for robotics, in Santa Clara, CA. We’ll also be sharing more in future posts about specific steps we are taking to boost adoption of robotics across industries.