Qualcomm Technologies’ new Robotics RB5 platform has been described as the most advanced and comprehensive offering that’s been designed specifically for robotics.

Building on Qualcomm’s Robotics RB3 platform, the RB5 platform comprises of an extensive set of hardware, software and development tools.

It brings the company’s expertise in 5G and AI together to help developers and manufacturers in creating the next generation of high-compute, low-power robots and drones for the consumer, enterprise, defence, industrial and professional service sectors. A comprehensive Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit helps to ensure developers have the customisation and flexibility required so they can turn ideas into a commercial reality.

While Qualcomm has already engaged with over 20 early adopters in the process of evaluating the platform, over 30 ecosystem players are already developing the hardware and software necessary to enable various robotics applications, including: ADLINK, Canonical, Dronecode, Innominds Software, InOrbit, Intel RealSense, Lantronix and Open Robotics.

The platform’s Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, which has been customised for robotics applications, is able to offer a powerful heterogeneous computing architecture coupled with the leading fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine delivering 15 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) of AI performance for running complex AI and deep learning workloads.

The processor also offers machine learning (ML) inferencing at the edge under restricted power budgets using Qualcomm’s Hexagon Tensor Accelerator (HTA), a powerful image signal processor (ISP) with support for seven concurrent cameras, and a dedicated computer vision engine for enhanced video analytics (EVA).

With support for 4G and 5G connectivity speeds via a companion module, the RB5 platform will help to pave the way for the proliferation of 5G in robotics and intelligent systems.

The combination of the Robotics RB5 platform and the QRB5165 processor means that Qualcomm is able to offer a variety of design including off-the-shelf system-on-module solutions and flexible chip-on-board designs.

The solution is available in multiple options, including commercial and industrial-grade temperature ranges and an option for extended lifecycle until 2029.

“By applying its deep-rooted mobile systems expertise to the robotics industry, Qualcomm Technologies is helping to enable the creation of more powerful, secure, and intelligent robots than ever before,” said Dev Singh, senior director, business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines, Qualcomm Technologies. “We believe that the Robotics RB5 platform will help accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR), delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases, and laying the foundation for the UAV Traffic Management (UTM) space.”

To enable the next generation of robotics solutions and designs, Qualcomm Technologies has also entered into a strategic collaboration with TDK to further enhance the capabilities of the RB5 platform.

TDK has added state of the art sensor technologies for enhanced robotics applications as part of the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform and they have been instrumental in providing world class sensor solutions and motor control hardware.

Additional technologies by TDK include Hall-effect and temperature sensors and validated and verified software algorithms dedicated to robotic applications

The Robotics RB5 Development Kit is described as comprehensive, customisable and easy-to use. Developers have flexible software capabilities, with the platform offers support for Linux, Ubuntu and Robot Operating System (ROS) 2.0, as well as pre-integrated drivers for various cameras, sensors and 5G connectivity.

It also provides support for OpenCL, OpenGLES and OpenCV. Additionally, the RB5 Development Kit includes support for the Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435i and Panasonic TOF Camera to provide leading depth-sensing capabilities.