Highlights –

  • The new platform will offer a combination of Qualcomm AI Engine and 5G chip capabilities for state-of-the-art applications and possibilities.
  • The new solutions will spur the digital transformation of industries and serve as a key enabler for what Qualcomm calls Industry 4.0.

Qualcomm Technologies announced the launch of a new platform for advanced robotics products – 5G wireless networking and edge-AI applications. The new version of its robotics platform and AMR reference design will offer advanced robots with 5G connectivity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the edge computing power.

The new solutions were revealed at its annual Qualcomm 5G Summit event as it perceives how 5G is proliferating beyond smartphones.

The two platforms – Qualcomm Robotics RB6 Platform and the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference Design – will lend support to emerging applications for OEMs. It will help unlock the market for robot manufacturers wanting to introduce ground robots to industrial use cases for government service applications, logistics, healthcare, retail, warehousing, agriculture, construction and utilities. The new technology can power delivery robots, automated manufacturing robots, urban air mobility vehicles and industrial drone infrastructure.

The company believes that the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference design is the world’s first AMR reference design to offer tightly integrated enhanced AI and 5G capabilities. The San Diego, California-based company foresees that the new design will fuel the development of commercial, enterprise and industrial robots for industries working on robotics solutions at the connected, intelligent edge.

Dev Singh, GM of robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm, said that robotics is a significant part of the company’s diversification strategy.

“We are seeing Qualcomm becoming the default choice for delivery robots, urban air mobility and wireless factories,” he said during a press conference about the news. “This is because we have one tech roadmap, and we are very well positioned to address these challenges.”

Singh said that the progress made in connectivity and edge computing would help make autonomous robots smarter and safer. Features of the robotics platform include:

  • Heterogeneous computing
  • Up to 24 cameras
  • Distributed intelligence on-device, at the edge and in the cloud
  • Security processing unit for vault-like hardware-based security
  • Qualcomm AI Engine with 70 – 200 TOPS
  • High bandwidth, low latency and sub-6GHx and mmWave
  • Energy efficiency

The Qualcomm Robotics RB6 platform includes hardware and software development tools, a fully-integrated AI Software Development Kit, and the Qualcomm Intelligent Multimedia SDK. This SDK brings together multimedia, AI and Machine Learning (ML), computer vision and networking building blocks to support the end-to-end deployment of robotic applications.

Taking 5G above and beyond

The new platform will offer a combination of Qualcomm AI Engine and 5G chip capabilities for state-of-the-art applications and possibilities, which includes smarter and safer robots and environments.

The tech can be used to kickstart autonomy for delivery robots roaming the streets; fleet management coordination across autonomous mobile robots in industrial spaces; real-time data and insights that empower critical decision-making across manufacturing and logistics and intelligence to support autonomous urban air mobility transportation.

The new solutions will spur the digital transformation of industries and serve as a key enabler for what Qualcomm calls Industry 4.0.

What next

The Qualcomm Robotics RB6 platform is built with an aim to step up enterprise and industrial robotics innovation with enhanced AI and 5G. The new platform offers 5G connectivity with support for global sub-6GHz and millimetre-wave bands in the mainstream, enterprise, and private networks.

Experts’ view

“Building on the successful growth and traction of Qualcomm Technologies’ leading robotics solutions, our expanded roadmap of solutions will help bring enhanced AI and 5G technologies to support smarter, safer, and more advanced innovations across robotics, drones and intelligent machines,” said Dev Singh, head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. “We are fueling robotics innovations with 5G connectivity and premium edge-AI that will transform how we think and approach challenges and ever-evolving industry expectations in the digital economy.”

“We’ve been experiencing a lot of massive growth and traction in robotics space,” said Singh, in a press event. “What we have is another proof point on how we continue to expand our portfolio while delivering the solution that addresses the pain point of the ecosystem.”

“Qualcomm is becoming a de facto choice for robotics applications,” Singh said. “Our technology is at [the] heart of all and serves as the brain of all cutting-edge robotics deployments and trends across industries.”

“As more and more robotics are being rolled out, we see that the robotics applications evolve into new areas, like the delivery robot for first mile and last mile, the urban air mobility, smart manufacturing, and also wireless factories,” Singh said. “Advancements in all of these areas are going to be significantly aiding humanity and generating a lot of economic output as well. And it’s going to make our lives better and simpler by simplifying logistics, transportation, manufacturing, and others.”