Lately, there has been an increased interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics. In fact, humanoid robots have been appearing in the pictures and videos of AI in the press. Since robot and AI technology are closely related, global IT companies have a shared interest and are investing in both.
While the Internet of Things (IoT) is currently being implemented in products such as smart cars and smart TVs, as technology continues to advance, experts believe that robots will be the next item on the list to be integrated. It seems that this will be made a reality by robot software platforms in the field of robotic engineering. But first things first!
What is an intelligent robot?
Before we get into defining intelligent robots, let’s first see what a robot means. Most humans have a vague understanding of what a robot is. However if we simply define the term robot the definition would be something like this ‘ a robot is a machine that is similar in form to a human being and carries out duties or tasks that a human does. In this case an intelligent robot is a mechanized system that is intelligent, can process situations, sense the environment around it and act on its own.
Intelligent robots are guided by three core technologies; component technology, intelligence technology and control technology. Among these three, intelligent technology can be further divided into 3 categories which are software, sensors and cognition. Here are some of the robot software platforms that go into intelligence technology and are gaining popularity as the next IoT target.
Robot Operating System (ROS)
This is an open source robot software framework offering a variety of development and debugging tools such as:
- Motion planning functionality
- Hardware abstraction
- Message transmission package management
- Development of environments that are needed for robot operating systems
oHohRobot Operating System is more of a meta-operating system for the operation of Linux OS. ROS was started in 2007 as a switchyard system for one organization but now it is being developed by more than 20 organizations and offered publicly as an open source. The main objective of this platform is to support the reuse of the code being implemented in the development of intelligent robots. ROS is expanding and growing thus becoming the robot software framework that is receiving the most attention.
Open Robot Control Software (OROCOS)
This is a real-time based control platform development project that was started in cooperation in the EU with Sweden, France and Belgium. OROCOS was designed for the development of independent software framework for machines and robots as well as a wide range of free software development. This platform supports 4 C++ libraries namely Bayesian Filtering Library, Kinematics, Real-Time Toolkit and Dynamic Library for developing applications and building libraries that are possible to use in important projects.
However, OROCOS only provides the C++ class structure; it doesn’t offer the development components or tools. Also, the structure is not suitable for multimedia services that are non-real time.
Microsoft Robotic Studio (MRSRS)
This robot platform software is a development tool providing support to individuals who are interested in programming in the field of robotics with a variety of robot applications needed in the development of robot hardware. MRSRS is designed with a unique feature that allows developers to test their programs in a 3D engine that is based in a simulation environment without using the actual robot hardware. This feature is critical especially for high-level robot programming with a physical engine based simulation when the actual machine is not available.
Robot software is important because the global robot market is rapidly growing meaning robots are becoming an integral part of our lives just like smartphones. What else can make the new era of robotics possible if not robot software?