Thursday, June 18, 2020

Qualcomm unveils the world’s first 5G-enabled robotics platform

Qualcomm has announced its new robotics platform, dubbed Qualcomm Robotics RB5. This platform also comes with 5G and AI functionality enabled, making it the world’s first. The RB5 is the successor to the RB3 platform.

The Qualcomm RB5 platform comprises of an extensive set of hardware, software and development tools. It comes with an octa-core Kryo CPU, Adreno 650 GPU, 5th gen AI engine, and Spectra 480 ISP. It also supports Dolby Vision video capture, 8K video recording @ 30fps, and can capture 200MP photos and 64MP photos with zero shutter lag. It is powered by the same Snapdragon 865 which can be found on most of the 2020 flagship smartphones. 

For connectivity, the platform packs Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1, and 4G and 5G network. As far as the security is concerned, it comes AI and ML security features like fingerprint, iris, voice, and face authentication. 

The platform includes over 20 early adopters and 30+ ecosystem players are developing hardware and software to enable various robotics applications. The companies that are currently working include 96Boards, Acontis, ADLINK, AirMap, AirServe, Airtonomy, AlwaysAI, Augmented Pixels, Autocore, Autoware Foundation, Canonical, DeepEdge.ai, DreamVu, Dronecode, Fractal.ai, GlobalEdge, Innominds Software, InOrbit, Intel RealSense, Lantronix, Linaro, LiteOn, Kudan, ModalAI, Nod, Open Robotics, Panasonic, PathPartners, Pilot.AI, Shoreline IoT, SLAMCORE, TDK, Thundercomm, and Tier IV.

The platform’s QRB5165 chipset is customized for robotics. The 5th gen AI engine delivers 15 Tera operations per seconds(TOPS). This is useful for running complex AI, ML and deep learning workloads. With the processor, Qualcomm is enabling off-the-shelf system-on-module solutions and flexible chip-on-board designs. This solution is available in multiple options, including commercial and industrial-grade temperature ranges and an option for extended lifecycle until 2029.

The RB5 Development Kit is comprehensive, customizable and easy-to-use. Developers have flexible software capabilities, with the platform offering support for Linux, Ubuntu and Robot Operating System (ROS) 2.0, as well as pre-integrated drivers for various cameras, sensors and 5G connectivity. It supports OpenCL, OpenGLES and OpenCV platforms too. Additionally, it supports Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435i and Panasonic TOF Camera to provide depth-sensing capabilities.

To enable next-gen solutions and designs, Qualcomm has entered into a strategic collaboration with TDK, a Japanese company to further enhance the capabilities of the RB5 platform. TDK has added their latest sensor for enhanced robotics applications as part of the Robotics RB5 platform.

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