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Qualcomm’s partners talk about the chipmaker’s new robotics platform

Chipmaking giant recently unveiled its RB5 robotics platform.

Commercial products based on the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform are expected to be available in 2020, but the company has been partnering with a number of companies in advance.

New partners can now start developing products based on the platform, and are invited to visit the Qualcomm Developer Network webpage and the Qualcomm Technologies’ product webpage to ask for more information.

A development kit for the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform is available for pre-order now from Thundercomm’s webpage.

The partners which have been working with Qualcomm on early versions of the RB5 robotics platform and they have provided their views below.

Dr Yang Zhang, director, 96Boards, says…

“We are very excited to support the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform as the latest addition to the 96Boards.AI initiative.

“Qualcomm Robotics RB5 featuring QRB5165 Robotics Processor, is the first 96Boards compliant platform offering 5G, AI, Heterogeneous Computing, Computer Vision Engine, Advanced ISP Multi-Camera Concurrency for a large range of applications.

“With our partners, we believe this product will revolutionize the robotic and drone market as we know today. We are pleased to see our member Qualcomm Technologies continue to deliver its commitment to the wider developer ecosystem, with a clear path for production.”

Jon Waters, chief executive officer, Acontis

“EtherCAT is a simple, robust, affordable, ethernet-based industrial protocol with integrated safety that delivers exceptional performance in flexible topologies making it ideal for industrial robotics applications.

“We are delighted to see Qualcomm Technologies recognize the importance of EtherCAT for robotics applications and making it available as part of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform. We are excited to collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies to proliferate EtherCAT adoption across various robotics applications.”

Henry Hu, global business development director, ADLINK Technology

“ADLINK is very pleased to support the launch of Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform. As a global leader in edge computing, ADLINK is committed to serving our customers across industries with cutting-edge technologies in AI, machine vision and Industrial IoT.

“We are excited to be one of the early adopters to embark on a series of new developments based on Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform.

“By harnessing the power of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform’s Qualcomm AI Engine and 5G connectivity, ADLINK will be able to significantly leverage our deep expertise in heterogeneous computing and industry-grade ruggedness, and ultimately enable a broad range of next-generation applications such as autonomous mobile robots, industrial robots, and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Cheng Chen, chief technology officer, AutoCore

“ is pleased to announce its support of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform product launch. AutoCore specializes in functional safety real time middleware and heterogeneous computing platform design.

“We are excited to enable AutoCore’s core offering onto the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, leveraging the rich feature sets, as well as its flexibility and power efficiency to benefit AutoCore’s target customers from the industrial automation, robotics and AGV market.”

Shinpei Kato, chairman, Autoware Foundation.

“Autoware Foundation is also pleased to support Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform launch. Autoware Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to develop, support and promote autonomous system technology. Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform fits very well with the heterogeneous computing platform strategy.”

Dr Jean Baptiste Passot, vice president, platform and AI, San Diego-based Brain Corp

“Today’s global events have brought the value of automation and robotics sharply into focus, so it’s exciting to see Qualcomm Technologies address such a broad array of robotics categories and applications with its enhanced platform, which powers the world’s largest fleet of autonomous mobile robots operating in indoor public spaces through its BrainOS software technology.

“Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will provide a big innovation boost to the industry at large, while enhancing San Diego’s reputation as a global hub for AI and robotics.”

Lorenz Meier, chief executive officer, Auterion and chairman, Dronecode

“The new Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform is a game changer for drone and autonomous robotics, as its machine learning accelerators will allow adopters to replace manual inputs with AI.”

Roger Wells, VP and general manager, unmanned systems and integrated solutions, FLIR

“We believe the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will offer a critical advantage for our next-generation unmanned systems.”

LG Electronics

“LG is evaluating the Qualcomm Robotics RB3/RB5 Platform, and plans to introduce next-generation robotic products based on the platform next year.”

Meituan Dianping 

“As the leading e-commerce platform for services, Meituan has invested in logistics and autonomous delivery for years and kept exploring the possibilities of industry applications with the innovations such as drones and driverless delivery vehicles.

“Meituan is expecting to cooperate with Qualcomm Technologies in the future to explore the cutting-edge use cases in the industry by implementing the capabilities of Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform in the areas including computing, AI, security and connectivity to deliver innovative services to our customers.”

Chad Sweet, chief executive officer, ModalAI

“The incredible amount of AI processing and 5G capabilities built into the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will enable new autonomous drone experiences, such as navigating quickly through tight spaces while mapping the environment for objects of interest.

“We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies and integrating the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform to build off of our existing work with the Defense Innovation Unit to expand the capabilities of our sUAS platforms.”

Darin Andersen, chief executive officer, cofounder, NXT Robotics 

“The new Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform from Qualcomm Technologies is a dream chipset come true.

“The platform integrates key capabilities such as high-performance heterogeneous computing, 5G/LTE, the Qualcomm AI Engine for on-device inferencing and computer vision, hi-fidelity sensor processing for perception, odometry for localization, mapping, navigation, strong security, and Wi-Fi connectivity, all required for NXT Robotics’ two autonomous AI driven security patrol and public safety vehicles called Maverick and Scorpion.

“The Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform allows us to leverage flexible design options for the development and commercialization of our RobotogoAI autonomous platform allowing us to rapidly move from new feature prototype to full commercialization.”

Brian Gerkey, chief executive officer, Open Robotics

“Open Robotics is the hub of a global community, creating and applying open software and hardware platforms for robotics. In our work we aim to lower the barrier to entry into the field for students, researchers, application developers, and entrepreneurs alike.

“So I’m excited to see the release of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, which will help to spur yet more innovation in robotics across a variety of application domains.”

Bruce Wang, chief strategy officer, OrionStar

“We have long-standing deep cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies based on Qualcomm Robotics RB3 platform to provide our customers with cutting-edge products.

“The newly launched Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will bring the industry with technology offerings including the improved power-efficiency, heterogeneous computing, AI, machine learning and 5G capabilities.

“OrionStar is looking forward to expanding our collaborations to the new Qualcomm Robotic RB5 platform to deliver the unparalleled robotic products and extreme interactive experiences.”

Luo Yang, vice president, Siasun

“5G and AI technologies have demonstrated its powerful driving force as industry transitions to a new era. We are glad to become one of the first in the industry to adopt the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform.

“Siasun works closely with Qualcomm Technologies, with the powerful computing capability of up to 15 TOPS based on the fifth generation Qualcomm AI Engine and other advanced features, Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will give Siasun Pongbot ping-pong robot system more possibilities including light-weight mobility, remote real-time interaction of multiple devices, real-time AI computing and feedback on cloud.”

Abe Bachrach, chief technology officer, co-founder, Skydio 

“We are excited about the promise that the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform holds for the small Unmanned Air Vehicle (sUAV) industry.

“As the leading US manufacturer of autonomous drones, we leverage breakthrough computer vision and AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines.

“The cutting edge 4G/LTE, 5G, heterogeneous compute, AI, camera, and security technologies integrated into the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform will enable us to create the next generation autonomous drones.”

Scott Deutsch, general manager and vice president, worldwide sales and marketing, InvenSense, a TDK group company

“We are proud that we are an integral partner of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform launch and strategy.

“TDK’s advanced, integrated, and comprehensive robotic sensor offerings are designed specifically for the next generation low-power, high performance sensing robots and are critical to the needs of today’s OEM development teams.”

Hiro Cai, chief executive officer, Thundercomm

“Thundercomm is a world-leading IoT product and solution provider. With our years’ experience and expertise in the fields of AI and IoT, we can provide proven end to end solutions to accelerate customers’ development period and business cycle.

“Together with Qualcomm Technologies, we have empowered our customers to design and manufacture intelligent robots in different industries.

“Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, as an advanced 5G and AI-based robotics platform, meets the high demand of industry transformation, and promotes industrial upgrading. We are excited to cooperate with Qualcomm Technologies to create a wide array of robotics products for next generation.”

Dr Kazuya Takeda, representative director, Tier IV

“As a leading autonomous driving software developer and system integrator of Autoware, the leading open source AD software, Tier IV is very excited at the prospect of working with Qualcomm Technologies and their customers to ramp up the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform-based solutions targeting the autonomous vehicle market.

“The high performance, optimized architecture and extensive processing capabilities will enable the next generation of power and cost optimized AV platforms running Autoware and enable broader availability of AD technology to benefit a wide range of applications and services.”

Qualcomm says the key technical features of the Robotics RB5 platform include:

  • Powerful heterogeneous computing capabilities: For high power computing performance, the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor of Qualcomm RB5 Platform integrates Octa Core Qualcomm Kryo 585 CPU, powerful Qualcomm Adreno 650 GPU, multiple DSPs (compute, audio and sensor) and ISPs. It also contains a dedicated, powerful AI engine, which includes the Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, and dedicated computer vision hardware block (EnhancedVideo Analytics engine).
  • 5th generation Qualcomm AI engine: New dedicated Hexagon Tensor Accelerator is based on the leading fifth-generation Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine, delivering a whopping 15 TOPS of AI performance with high AI and ML inferencing.
  • Advanced imaging capability: Qualcomm Spectra 480 Image Signal Processor (ISP) captures fast, professional-quality photos and videos, and can process 2 Gigapixels per second. This Gigapixel speed supports superior camera features, including Dolby Vision video capture, 8K video recording (at 30 FPS) and 200-megapixel photos, and simultaneously captures 4K HDR video (at 120 FPS) and 64 MP photos with zero shutter lag. The hardware accelerator utilizes the Engine for Video Analytics (EVA) to handle all Computer Vision (CV) tasks. Additional ISP features include HEIF photo capture, slow motion video capture, and advanced video capture formats (including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HEVC and HLG). Seven concurrent cameras facilitate simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), object detection and classification, autonomous navigation and path planning to efficiently and safely perform tasks in complex indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Security support: The Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit is designed to offer robust security without compromising power. The Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit includes secure boot, cryptographic accelerators, Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) and camera security and is FIPS 140-2 certified. Additional security features include key provisioning security, malware protection, Qualcomm Content Protection, Qualcomm Mobile Security, Qualcomm Processor Security, and secure token to support remote attestation and secure device provisioning. For advanced AI and ML security, the platform supports Biometric Authentication (including fingerprint, iris, voice, and face).
  • Connectivity: The Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform supports long-range Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1, and 4G and 5G, providing the highest level of connectivity available.

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