Today’s cloud was made possible by virtualization technology, which creates a software-based representation of hardware equipment. Virtual machines, such as those popularized by VMWare and the hypervisor technology that manages VM execution, make it possible to run different software on the same machine.
In the beginning...
I entered the robotics world 10 years ago, thanks to an opportunity from Willow Garage and its outstanding people. I joined them from the world of enterprise software with the goal of helping to bring robotics research into the world with production-ready solutions.
I fell in love with the humanity and professional excellence of the robotics engineers I worked with, and the interesting challenge of creating tools to make our lives easier.
It was really great to be part of the A3 AMR & Logistics conference this year.
The conference had the usual good presentations and panels, but the exhibitor’s floor was where robot and technology manufacturers met to discuss the latest technologies and innovations in this nascent field of robotics. This conference in particular, being held in Memphis, saw the almost overshadowing presence of FedEx in attendance. But through the different panels and visitors on the exhibition floor, it became crystal clear to us that the “end user” is definitely considering operations as they think about how to deploy diverse robotics technologies in the field. This confirms that our drive to promote effective RobOps is working.
The topic of interoperability was a part of several different presentations this year, which showed a growing understanding from enterprises and robot vendors about how interoperability is the next important step to take the industry to the next level.
It’s been a few days since we announced the Free Edition of the InOrbit platform, and the reaction has been amazing. We’ve already seen a big jump in signups, and we have even more announcements coming up.
In case you haven’t heard, people can now use InOrbit to manage an unlimited number of robots for free. Unlike other solutions, there are no limited trial periods, no hidden fees. Free. For real.
However, many people have asked us, with a clear note of concern: “Why would you do that? Didn’t you just give your business away?”
So here I wanted to address all those questions and share the 5 reasons why we chose to go free.
Modern robots are awesome, but they’re also infamous for getting into compromising situations. Sometimes, it’s hilarious and other times, catastrophic. Robots have been seen steering into ponds, getting stuck next to trash cans, rolling into retail store fitting rooms or suddenly catching fire. Some people may think robots just don’t work, but the reality is more nuanced: Robots work great most of the time — until they don’t.
Robot navigation presents several practical challenges. Sometimes you’ll have to fix localization issues or manually operate a robot. In these situations, you need to interact with the robot to achieve specific goals. However, what if your target is in a narrow area with limited maneuverability? And how can you focus on signs or navigation markers to make them more readable?
These and other questions can be answered using InOrbit Control.
We’ve said it here before, but it’s worth repeating – robots fail, and they fail more often than you think. When companies talk about the benefits of robotics, they tend to gloss over some of the downsides of autonomous systems, especially those that work in dynamic, changing and chaotic environments. Robots get stuck, they get lost, they break down … and occasionally they even catch fire or fall down an escalator.
Robots and Humans are Alike - We All Fail
At InOrbit, our mission is to accelerate the adoption of robotics at scale. After talking to 100+ robotics companies, from startups to companies with billions of dollars in revenue, with all types of autonomous robots, we’ve reached an inescapable conclusion: they will all fail.
We’re not saying the companies will go out of business (although, sadly, many have in recent years). Rather, every robot will experience failures, in some cases multiple times per day or per hour. While a few of these failures may be catastrophic (and occasionally hilarious), like steering into a pond, getting stuck next to a trash can, or suddenly catching on fire, many errors are recoverable. The most frequent failures are what we call autonomy exceptions, where a robot finds itself in a situation that falls just outside its operating parameters.