Building and testing applications for autonomous robots is challenging, complicated and resource intensive. Traditionally, teams of developers write code to address a wide array of deployment scenarios, the code is integrated, and then the application scenarios are tested on robotics hardware in physical environments. This manual process of development and testing consumes staff time, requires expensive hardware, slows the release cycle for application updates, and cannot be easily scaled.

With simulation, developers can test applications in virtual environments, or worlds, enabling them to increase testing coverage, reduce code errors, and accelerate development velocity. One of the most important benefits of using simulation is the ability to test and train robots in a large number and diverse set of worlds. Scaling simulation unlocks the ability to conduct robust regression testing, reinforcement learning, and synthetic data generation. However, for robotics companies, building simulation worlds, managing simulation infrastructure, and scaling testing is expensive and requires specialized skills. This often limits the use of simulation among robotics companies, and limits the benefits of automated testing at scale.

Simulation with AWS RoboMaker

AWS RoboMaker is a fully managed service that enables developers, QAs, and DevOps engineers to easily create simulation worlds and run simulation jobs without provisioning or managing any infrastructure. RoboMaker makes simulation at scale affordable and accessible to all robotics companies by providing tools for developers to test and iterate code in 3D virtual environments. The service supports large-scale and parallel simulations, and automatically scales based on the complexity of the scenarios being tested. With RoboMaker simulation, robotics companies can make robotics application testing and machine learning faster, less expensive, and more robust.

Build simulation worlds at scale

RoboMaker WorldForge makes it possible to automatically create hundreds of pre-defined, randomized simulation worlds that mimic real-world conditions without engineering investment or managing world generation infrastructure. Without a simulation world generator, building a simulation world is costly, time consuming, and requires specialized skills in 3D modeling and knowledge of simulation engines. WorldForge makes it easy to increase the scale, speed, and variance of simulation, improving the quality of production code and accelerating time to market. Today, WorldForge provides worlds for indoor home environments, complete with configurable floor plans and furnishings.

Run large-scale, parallel simulations

With the RoboMaker batch simulation API, developers can easily launch a large batch of simulations with a single API call. Running large-scale simulations through an API makes it easier to access compute power, allowing developers to increase the complexity, scale, and frequency of their tests, which speeds up the development lifecycle and makes testing more robust.

Managed ROS/ Gazebo environment

RoboMaker simulation can be used to run the open-source software library known as Robot Operating System (ROS) and ROS 2 applications in simulation using the open-source Gazebo robot simulation engine. RoboMaker enables you to run Gazebo-based simulations in the cloud without provisioning, configuring managing any infrastructure. The service supports the Gazebo graphical client for interacting with a running simulation job, rviz for visualizing sensor data, rqt for running various GUI tools, and command line for interacting with the running robot application.

ROS Cloud Extensions

Enhance robot functionality

AWS has developed cloud extensions to Amazon services that enable developers to enhance the functionality of their robots and collect data from them, without installing additional hardware or developing complex software. You can use cloud extensions to enhance ROS-based robot functionality with Amazon Rekognition for object detection, Amazon Kinesis for video streaming, Amazon Polly for converting text to speech, and Amazon Lex for speech recognition. For operations, you can use cloud extensions to pull performance and operational data from robots using Amazon CloudWatch for metrics, logging, and monitoring. You can also use a ROS extension to upload rosbags and files from robots for storage in Amazon S3. AWS provides each of these cloud service extensions as open-source ROS packages that customers access via cloud APIs. This integrated suite of AWS services makes it easy for customers to monitor and tune the performance of their robotic applications in the field. Learn more in our ROS resources and documentation.

Fleet Management

Once a robotic application is developed, tested, and deployed, the need shifts to managing robots in the field. Monitoring the state of the robots, obtaining performance data, and securely updating applications are challenges that AWS is uniquely positioned to address through RoboMaker’s fleet management capabilities and a broader set of AWS cloud services including AWS IoT Greengrass.

Securely manage and deploy applications

RoboMaker’s fleet management service is integrated with AWS IoT Greengrass to provide robot registry, security, and fault-tolerance. The registry service enables companies to identify, track, and organize their robots into optimal fleets. Developers can use RoboMaker fleet management to securely deploy their application to their robots via AWS’ fully-managed over-the-air (OTA) update infrastructure. AWS IoT Greengrass uses X.509 certificates, managed subscriptions, AWS IoT policies, and IAM roles for secure connection to AWS cloud services through encrypted connections. RoboMaker’s OTA service supports conditional updates which provides intelligence into the OTA process to lower the risk of interrupted or incomplete software updates.

Development Environment

RoboMaker’s development environment is a customized environment in AWS Cloud9 for robotics development. This environment comes with ROS pre-installed and includes sample applications. This environment is also integrated with other RoboMaker capabilities such as simulation so that you can use these capabilities from the interface of the development environment.

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AWS RoboMaker pricing is pay-as-you-go, with no minimum fees.

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