'Internet for robots' created

March 11, 2013 at 5:29 PM
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ZURICH, Switzerland, March 11 (UPI) -- European computer scientists say they have created an "Internet for robots," a cloud-computing system to aid in robotics tasks and robot learning.

Researchers at five European universities said the system will allow robots connected to the Internet to directly access the powerful computational, storage and communications infrastructure of modern data centers like the giant server farms that power companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The RoboEarth Cloud Engine will allow robots to share knowledge with other robots via a Web-style database, greatly speeding up robot learning and adaptation in complex tasks, a release from the ETH Zurich technical research center said Monday.

The cloud will enable robots to perform complex functions like mapping, navigation or processing of human voice commands in a fraction of the time required by robots' on-board computers, researchers said.

"The RoboEarth Cloud Engine is particularly useful for mobile robots, such as drones or autonomous cars, which require lots of computation for navigation," ETH Zurich researcher Mohanarajah Gajamohan said.

The new computing platform could help in developing lighter, cheaper, more intelligent robots, the researchers said.

"On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost," said Heico Sandee, RoboEarth's Program Manager at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. "With the rapid increase in wireless data rates caused by the booming demand of mobile communications devices, more and more of a robot's computational tasks can be moved into the cloud."

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