Qualcomm Introduces 5G and AI-Enabled Robotics Platform

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Qualcomm Introduces 5G and AI-Enabled Robotics Platform

Qualcomm on Wednesday introduced its Robotics RB5 platform, with 5G and 4G connectivity, on-device AI and machine studying, superior computing and clever sensing capabilities.

The platform’s Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, which is personalized for robotics functions, gives a heterogeneous computing structure coupled with the Fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine — with its new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator — that delivers 15 Tera Trillion Operations Per Second (TOPS) of AI efficiency.

“The QRB5165 has an octa-core Qualcomm Kryo 858 matched with an Adreno 650 GPU and a digital signal processor,” Ray Wang, a principal analyst at Constellation Research, informed TechNewsWorld.

This makes it “super fast,” Wang remarked. Its processing fee is 2 Gigapixels per second, it might probably carry out 8K video recording at 30 fps, and deal with 200-megapixel pictures.

“When paired with the AI engine, it has the speed to improve industrial robots, military applications, and even retail and hospitality scenarios,” Wang added. “You get seven concurrent video cameras that can do things like object detection and classification, self-navigation, and path planning.”


Interest within the RB5

At least 20 firms, together with LG, drone maker Skydio, safety robotic maker NXT Robotics, and China’s supply robotic and drone maker Meitun, had an early take a look at the expertise and will seemingly use it, Qualcomm stated.

More than 30 {hardware} and software program firms are engaged on ancillary expertise to allow numerous robotics functions. They embrace drone mapper AirMap; Canonical, which publishes Ubuntu; robotic fleet supervisor InOrbit; and Intel with its RealSense expertise for depth and monitoring cameras.

Commercial merchandise based mostly on the RB5 platform are anticipated to be obtainable in 2020, stated Dev Singh, head of Qualcomm’s robotics, drones and clever machines enterprise.

This is reasonable as a result of “they’ve been working with over 50 OEMs and partners well before the announcement,” Francis Sideco, a senior analyst with Tirias Research, informed TechNewsWorld.

Qualcomm “is pretty reliable in their predictions,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, informed TechNewsWorld. “They’re used to a smartphone cadence and this timeframe would easily fit within the 6-month smartphone window.”

The RB5’s principal promoting level is that it “has low power consumption for an SoC with such high capability,” remarked Chris Taylor, a analysis director at Strategy Analytics.

“In terms of total cost of ownership, the RB5 probably hits a sweet spot for many of the applications Qualcomm talks about compared to existing solutions using more conventional chips,” Taylor informed TechNewsWorld.

The platform is on the market with a number of choices, and has an choice for prolonged lifecycle till 2029, Singh acknowledged.

“The battle for the autonomous enterprise starts with robotics platforms in hardware,” Constellation Research’s Wang remarked. “Qualcomm has done a good job assembling an ecosystem for the RB5.”

Robotics growth platforms “will be key to accelerate edge computing, the Internet of Things, and automation,” he famous. “The post-pandemic playbook shows a huge interest in improving robotics, customer facing automation, and ambient experiences.”

RB5 Hardware Dev Kit

Thundercomm, a three way partnership between Chinese agency Thunder Software Technology Co. Ltd. and Qualcomm (Guizhou) Investment Co. Ltd., is taking pre-orders for the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 {hardware} growth equipment, based mostly on the QRB5165 processor.

The equipment consists of a robotics-focused growth board that complies with the 96Boards open hardware spec to assist a spread of mezzanine-board expansions for creating proof-of-concepts and fast prototyping.

Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit

Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit

It helps Linux, Ubuntu and Robot Operating System (ROS) 2 and has pre-integrated drivers for numerous cameras, sensors and connectivity.

The board helps the Fifth technology Qualcomm AI engine. It can function between -340 levels and +105 levels Celsius. It communicates by means of industrial protocols resembling EtherCAT and time-sensitive networking (TSN), and helps safety at virtually each layer.

The equipment might be obtainable in late July.

Thin Competition

The principal competitor to the RB5 is Nvidia’s ISAAC SDK.

“Nvidia’s is the best known,” Enderle stated. “Their Jetson offerings are similar in concept.”

Intel “has the making of 1 used of their drone swarms, however they have not packaged it up as nicely but,” Enderle remarked.

However, the combo of low-power AI and connectivity “is unique to Qualcomm,” Kevin Krewell, a principal analyst at Tirias Research, informed TechNewsWorld.

Robotics is compute-intensive so CPU vendor platforms “have the home court advantage,” famous Holger Mueller, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.

That stated, “The main problem is the lack of common standards for robotic automation at present,” Mueller informed TechNewsWorld.

Potential Market

“There’s a lot of interest in 5G in robotics and drones,” Krewell stated. 5G has decrease latency and larger bandwidth, “which can reduce connectivity lag.”

There is a few debate, nonetheless, about whether or not 5G will take off right here within the United States.

The United States Federal Communications Commission has a plan to boost 5G, however there are conflicting experiences about the marketplace for the expertise.

“One of the impacts of COVID-19 is the need for more remote interactions,” noticed Tirias Research’s Sideco. “Robots and drones help with this demand and those with 5G and AI even more so.”

Some consider the pandemic will push the demand for 5G however others level out that constructing out 5G networks will not be continuing as quickly as hoped.

“The pandemic slowed manufacturing and some wrongly concluded it spread COVID-19, which has delayed deployment and resulted in the destruction of some 5G towers,” Enderle stated.

However, “We should have decent coverage of major cities and some rural areas in the U.S. by year end.”

Lack of protection will not be an issue as a result of “5G robotics can use 4G, WiFi or no connectivity at all,” Strategy Analytics’ Taylor added.


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus embrace cybersecurity, cellular applied sciences, CRM, databases, software program growth, mainframe and mid-range computing, and utility growth. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with Information Week and Computerworld. He is the writer of two books on consumer/server expertise.
Email Richard.



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