The Rise of the Cloud Enabled Autonomous Robots

The Rise of the Cloud Enabled Autonomous Robots

On the IEEE Spectrum Robotics blog, I came across this blog post, “Cloud Robotics: Connected to the Cloud, Robots Get Smarter” written by Erico Guizzo. It’s an interesting read on the possibilities of leveraging the Cloud in the field of robotics. Robotics has long been plagued by all the processing capacity required to mimic human capabilities, though emerging technology like Cloud computing is creating new possibilities.

A single human brain has a greater switching capacity than all the computer switches on earth as discovered by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and covered by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, a member of the CNET blog network, in her post.

If you’re interested in the ultimate computer, the human brain, I highly recommend reading it. You may also be interested in the awe inspiring video so I’ve included it below for your convenience.

I provide that perspective as background to convey the difficulty and challenge of developing robots that can look, sense, and function the way we do.  Though a number of technologies are converging to make this possible; and Cloud computing is one of those enabling technologies, as James Kuffner, a professor at Carnegie Mellon currently working at Google (on the self-driving car project), points out below.Kuffner described the possibilities of cloud robotics at the IEEE International Conference on Humanoid Robots, in Nashville, Tenn., this past December. Embracing the cloud could make robots “lighter, cheaper, and smarter,” he said in his talk, which created much buzz among attendees.According to Kuffner, cloud-enabled robots could offload CPU-heavy tasks to remote servers, relying on smaller and less power-hungry onboard computers. Even more promising, the robots could turn to cloud-based services to expand their capabilities.

Erico’s post on Cloud Robotics goes on to share Kuffner’s vision of an app store for robots, and while humans won’t be getting replaced en masse by these human like, touch-sensitive, artificially intelligent, cloud-enabled robots anytime soon, it is interesting to see the numerous applications of Cloud computing that are emerging.

What cloud-enabling applications are you seeing emerge in your industries?

By Ray DePena

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