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Qualcomm launches 5G- and AI-enabled robotics platform

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Qualcomm Technologies has announced the launch of what is said to be the world’s first 5G- and AI-enabled robotics platform.

Designed specifically for robotics, the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform comprises hardware, software and development tools for a wide array of robotics and drone products for the consumer, enterprise, defense, industrial and professional service sectors.

These include autonomous mobile robots, delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases.

According to the company, to date, 20+ early adopters are in the process of evaluating the platform and 30+ ecosystem players are developing necessary hardware and software to enable various robotics applications.

The platform’s Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, customised for robotics applications, reportedly offers a powerful heterogeneous computing architecture coupled with the fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine delivering 15 Tera Operations Per Second of AI performance for running complex AI and deep learning workloads.

The platform is designed to facilitate accelerated development of innovative, power-efficient, high computing robots and drones for enterprise, industrial and professional service applications

The processor also offers machine learning inferencing at the edge under restricted power budgets using the new Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, a powerful image signal processor with support for seven concurrent cameras, and a dedicated computer vision engine for enhanced video analytics.

With support for 4G and 5G connectivity speeds via a companion module, the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform is designed to help pave the way for 5G in robotics and intelligent systems.

With the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform and the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, the company said it can enable various design offerings including off-the-shelf system-on-module solutions and flexible chip-on-board designs.

The solution is available in multiple options, including commercial and industrial-grade temperature ranges and an option for extended lifecycle until 2029.

“By applying its deep-rooted mobile systems expertise to the robotics industry, Qualcomm Technologies is helping to enable the creation of more powerful, secure, and intelligent robots than ever before,” said Dev Singh, senior director, business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines, Qualcomm Technologies.

“With the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, Qualcomm Technologies will help accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments such as autonomous mobile robots, delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases, and laying the foundation for the UAV Traffic Management space.”

To enable the next generation of robotics solutions and designs, Qualcomm Technologies has entered into a strategic collaboration with TDK to further enhance the capabilities of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform.

TDK has added its latest sensor technologies, Hall effect and temperature sensors, and validated and verified software algorithms dedicated to robotic applications.

The Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit offers support for Linux, Ubuntu and Robot Operating System 2.0, as well as pre-integrated drivers for various cameras, sensors and 5G connectivity. It also provides support for OpenCL, OpenGLES and OpenCV.

Additionally, the kit includes support for the Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435i and Panasonic TOF Camera to provide depth-sensing capabilities.

According toQualcomm, the collaboration with TDK has been integral in enabling the Qualcomm RB5 Robotics Development Kit with TDK’s 6-axis, high-performance ICM-42688-P IMU, accompanied by a ICP-10111 barometric pressure and a T5818 Digital bottom port microphone.

TDK also enables the development kit with its ultrasonic Time-Of-Flight CH101 and CH201 solutions, in addition to their embedded motor control (HVC4223F) and high performance IMU with built-in redundancy (IIM-46220).

Finally, the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit utilises 96Boards Consumer Edition Specification, which helps offer versatility for creating proof-of-concepts and rapid prototyping.

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