Qualcomm announced the next step in their bid to power the next generation of commercial 5G-enabled robots, with the release of the RB5 platform. Bringing high-compute power and a significant degree of modularity to the energy-constrained robotic platform market, the RB5 is an evolution on the company’s RB3 platform released in 2019, and a potential game-changer in the development of smart robotic fleets.
RB5 is advertised as a premium platform, with an emphasis on sophistication over cost-efficiency, supporting high-performance heterogeneous computing with built-in 5G capability and 4K HDR video streaming. The platform is a highly integrated, multifeatured, and customizable environment aiming to address the most sophisticated functions of advanced mobile robots from motion control to high-degree of autonomy, data monitoring, and intelligence, with the ability to interact with their own environment in real-time. RB5 should not be seen as simple hardware but as a rich development kit with the potential to address many end-robot types from US$200-dollar social robots to autonomous haulage trucks.
…the RB5 is an evolution on the company’s RB3 platform released in 2019, and a potential game-changer in the development of smart robotic fleets.
Providing a comprehensive development environment to support the integration of robotics chipset platforms is not unique to Qualcomm as we have seen other players, such as Nvidia with their ISAAC SDK, adopting the same approach. However, there are many new capabilities that differentiate RB5 from competing solutions, including the very feature-rich and highly integrated connected chipset design approach Qualcomm has traditionally used to generate scale in many markets, including smartphones, the home robots, and other IoT applications. From this perspective, RB5 represents a major addition in the toolbox for those developing the next fleet of smart robots.
However, some questions need to be answered by those who utilize the RB5:
- Is the market ready for adopting such sophisticated robots?
- Will those developing with the RB5 be able to demonstrate its worth in reducing autonomy exceptions for mobile robots?
- Will the 5G value proposition be a key differentiator?
- Could RB5 lower the design barriers for smaller robot developers or will the price benefit those larger manufacturers who already deploy thousands of systems?
As a Senior Analyst for the Strategic Technologies research team, Rian analyzes the commercial and industrial Robotics market. Since 2017, he has delivered insight for clients on Industrial Automation, Collaborative Robotics, Mobile Robotics, unmanned aerial systems, and exoskeletons. Rian has spoken at numerous international industry events, including Robo Business, Automate, ProMat, and the Boston Robotics Summit. He is a frequent contributor to the Robot Report, Robotics Business Review, Robotics Trends, and the British Interest, and is often quoted in top tier press including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, and the BBC, among others. Rian is also on the advisory board for RoboBusiness and an advisor to VDEI, an industry trade group dedicated to furthering the understanding of the exoskeleton market. Rian graduated in 2017 with a Master’s degree in Science & Security from King’s College London, where he paid special focus to the history of the innovation in the American military, researching the intersection of technology and defense. Prior to that, he was an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, studying History and Politics.
Rian can be reach at whitton[AT]abiresearch.com.
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