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What is Cloud Robotics? Importance and Challenges

  • Soumalya Bhattacharyya
  • Jun 21, 2022
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The Industrial Revolution expedited the adoption of widespread industrial processes during the nineteenth century. The Technology Revolution accelerated the tempo of these processes in the twentieth century, giving remote access to labs and research centers. 


We've arrived at the pinnacle of a new technological upheaval, the Robotics Revolution, thanks to new domains of electronics, automation, and computing. This era is certain to have a significant influence on human life.


The Robotics Revolution saw the introduction of robots capable of performing a wide range of jobs. However, the amount of space and memory required, as well as the cost, posed a problem that had yet to be resolved. Cloud robots made their appearance at that time!


Cloud robotics refers to the utilization of distant computer resources to provide robotics applications with more memory, processing capacity, collective learning, and interconnectivity.


When a robot's computational or storage needs surpass its on-board capabilities, they are offloaded to the cloud, where huge datacenter resources complement the robot's limited local resources. 


Cloud robotics is also a huge step forward in robot learning. Where a single robot may take 150 hours to learn a task using its own AI resources, a collaborative effort of 150 robots studying various aspects of a work could accomplish the task in an hour.


A robot may use a massive library of recognised items to identify things in its environment via a Wi-Fi connection to cloud-based services. Object identification aids a robot's performance in activities such as sorting, cleaning, and operating appliances. 


Relying on the cloud for resources also allows the robot to be simpler, since it eliminates the need for expensive computation power as well as the accompanying cooling and electrical power consumption. 


Cloud-connected robots use less batteries and are lighter and less costly as a result of this offloading. Cloud robots are often used for activities that do not need real-time execution, allowing local resources to be saved for applications with strict deadlines.


Also Read | What is Robotics Process Discovery?



Importance of Cloud Robotics


Cloud robotics is a new branch of robotics that is based on cloud computing, cloud storage, and other Internet technologies, with the benefits of converged infrastructure and shared services at its core. 


It enables robots to take advantage of modern data centers' tremendous computing, storage, and networking resources. It also decreases reliance on bespoke middleware by removing maintenance and update overheads.


Cloud robotics allows robots to offload work without having to meet strict real-time deadlines by taking use of the fast growth in data transport speeds. This is especially relevant for mobile robots, since on-board processing necessitates higher power consumption, which can shorten operational time, limit robot mobility, and raise expenses.


Other Internet-related features of robotics, such as tendencies toward online sharing of open source hardware and software, crowd-sourcing robotics financing, telepresence, and human-based computation, may also be included in broader definitions of Cloud Robotics. 


Other definitions emphasize the connections between robotics and related developing topics like the Internet of Things, Web of Things, robot app stores, sensor networks, Big data, and so on.


Cloud robotics is a subset of robotics that emphasizes the use of distributed computing to keep automation functionality current. Its goal is to merge cloud computing with robotics to develop a robot that can connect with the cloud through the internet. 


When this happens, the robot obtains access to all the cloud has to offer, including storage, powerful processing, and communication capabilities, resulting in a relatively light, adaptable, and low-cost robot connected to the cloud and all of its data. 


In other words, someone whose mind is always linked to the internet and has the ability to extract information from it. To you, this is cloud robotics. There are several benefits to having a robotic system that is always linked to the cloud.


Advantages of Cloud Robotics


Below we’ve listed some of the advantages of cloud robotics :

Advantages of Cloud Robotics : 1. Enhanced data storage and processing power 2. Dynamically offloaded to the cloud 3. Enables distributed computing or massively parallel computing 4. Provides on-demand and reliable computational services 5. Have access to high-density rooms

Advantages of Cloud Robotics

  1. More data storage and processing power are available to the robot.


  1. Onboard, cloud-connected robots are not required to undertake difficult activities. Design coordination, object identification, speech recognition and synthesis, and computer vision are all examples of activities that may be dynamically offloaded to the cloud.


  1. These tasks may be accomplished swiftly and in real-time in the cloud using distributed computing or massively parallel computing.


  1. In addition to these features, cloud infrastructure provides on-demand and reliable computational services.


  1. Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) and other perception systems evolve when robots amass sensors and other data, resulting in a vast quantity of data that is impossible to store locally due to the limited storage capacity of most robots.


  1. Furthermore, robots employing cloud storage have access to high-density rooms where they may store large amounts of data for future use.


  1. Despite these advantageous circumstances, robotics may access huge data such as object models, global maps, open-source methods, and extra code.


  1. In addition, while dealing with complicated challenges, cloud robotics allows robots to benefit from human intellect through crowdfunding and collaborate by sharing information.


  1. As a consequence, robots will no longer be limited in their capability and will be able to take use of all the benefits of cloud infrastructure.


The majority of people's involvement with robotic technology nowadays includes sitting at a desk or controlling the machine with a computer. 


For all advancements, we plan to provide them with a high level of consistency in communication. Engineers in the cloud are working on integrating this type of communication instead of "programme and depart."


An individual may automate any job they undertake consistently at the most basic level. It's simply a question of determining what the work entails and informing the machine accordingly. Robots, on the other hand, will be able to identify jobs that need to be automated thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence. 


And to know how to do tasks in the most effective manner feasible, as well as to educate various equipment what they believe about accomplishing that work.


As a result, scaling up operations is quite reliable. Distributed software like the Ubuntu Core-powered Robot Operating System (ROS) has two direct implications on machine development: reduced pricing and smaller hardware.


The cost-consciousness of the building goods required for devices is an issue with the mix of edge and cloud computing. In that regard, prices have escalated. There are cloud-based applications, and connecting them to something that is already operating on the device might be the most effective method to get things done.


Using cloud-based results can help you save money and speed up your hardware. It has affected computers, smartphones, and other portable electronics, and it is already affecting robots.


Also Read | Top Robotic Trends


Difference between Cloud Robotics and Automation


The use of cloud technology is the primary distinction between cloud robotics and generic automation. Robots-as-a-Service is another business model that can benefit from cloud robotics. Robotics firms can lease their technology over the cloud to others for a recurring charge, and the cloud-based infrastructure is built for remote access of robotic equipment.


Onboard computational, memory, and software resources are no longer a constraint for robots and automation systems. "Cloud Robotics and Automation" is a novel paradigm based on developing research in cloud computing, Deep Learning, and Big Data in which robots and automation systems exchange data and code.


Physical machinery, computer software, and other technologies are used to automate human jobs. Automation is the use of computer software, machinery, or other technology to do an activity that would otherwise be completed by a human.


The process of developing, constructing, and deploying robots to execute a certain activity is known as robotics.


Examples of Cloud Robotics Developments


So far, you've probably associated cloud robotics with the humanoid robots we've seen and read about in novels, movies, and television shows. That may happen later (or is already happening in a few research centers across the world), but for now, the most well-known examples of cloud robotics you'll likely come across are self-driving automobiles and assistive robots.


Consider self-driving vehicles from Tesla or Uber, for example. The fact is that these vehicles use the cloud to store data that allows them to safely and correctly maneuver around other vehicles and objects. Consider the future, when these types of cars will be commonplace.


They will potentially be able to "communicate" with one another and coordinate according to traffic patterns and conditions within a few years, reducing road incidents and boosting road safety. Assistive robots like the Roomba, on the other hand, come with cloud-enabled capabilities that increase their performance. 


Despite the fact that they don't clean with a floor brush, lift things to sweep the dirt beneath them, or use presence of "mind" to avoid cleaning over a liquid spill—all of which are things that a future assistive robot would do—they use cloud robotics to function, and have been using them more and more with each model released.


Also Read | Self Healing Robots


Challenges Faced by Cloud Robotics


There are many challenges faced by Cloud Robotics, a couple of which have been mentioned below :


  1. Privacy and Security in Cloud–Robot Systems


The rising usage of cloud robotics-based technology raises issues about privacy and security. Robotic data is stored and operations are done remotely in the cloud via cloud-based services, leaving these systems vulnerable to programmers and hackers. 


Hackers may get unauthorized access, control, or destruction of sensitive data if it is stored remotely in the cloud. Hackers can use remote execution to get access to and change robotic services in the cloud, changing the behavior of robot tasks in harmful ways. As a result, researchers coined the term crypto robotics, which combines digital security and robotics.


The firm is now using proper verification procedures using a layered encryption tool to access cloud services and data in order to assess the security and privacy issues associated with cloud robotics.


  1. Communication Delays over the Cloud


In terms of cloud robotic systems, communication between robots and cloud services might cause significant delays. Communication delays are exacerbated by the massive amounts of data generated by robotic applications such as SLAM, perception, and navigation. 


To be honest, the main issue with cloud robotics is the delay in computation and communication that occurs between robots and the cloud for the vast majority of applications.


Also Read | Robot as-a-services


Cloud robotics isn't only the future of robotics; it's now here. Despite the fact that there are a few obstacles impeding their current and future capabilities, such as privacy and security concerns and concerns about effective load-balancing, we're quickly approaching a point where theory becomes reality and we have fully-functional robots walking around with the cloud securely embedded inside.

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