AWS launches AWS IoT RoboRunner, aims to manage robot fleets

The service from AWS is designed to help enterprises scale and orchestrate robot fleets.

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Robotics in the enterprise

Robots have moved off the assembly line and into warehouses, offices, hospitals, retail shops, and even our homes. ZDNet explores how the explosive growth in robotics is affecting specific industries, like healthcare and logistics, and the enterprise more broadly on issues like hiring and workplace safety.

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Amazon Web Services is expanding into robot fleet management with a cloud service based on Amazon's experience managing 350,000 robots in its fulfillment centers.

The company at its re:Invent conference launched AWS IoT RoboRunner, a robotics service designed to enable enterprises to build and deploy applications so robots operate well together.

AWS IoT RoboRunner is another part of the cloud provider's robotics stack. AWS RoboMaker is a cloud simulation service for robotics developers.



According to AWS, AWS IoT RoboRunner is an effort to connect robots with work management systems and orchestrate them. Eric Anderson, general manager of AWS Robotics, said in an interview that scaling robot fleets is becoming a challenge for various industries. "There is a scale challenge with both scale and diversity," said Anderson. "There are different types of robots, equipment, parts and payloads moving around.

In addition, companies are also layering next-generation robots on top of legacy ones. AWS is looking to provide a cloud layer that will make the various generations of robots work well together. Target industries include logistics, manufacturing, transportation and fulfillment to name a few. 

AWS IoT RoboRunner, which is launching in a public preview, includes the following:

  • Tools to create a facility in the AWS Management Console to create repositories for storing robot, destination and task data.
  • Robots can be set up as a fleet as well as individuals.
  • Integration codes for connecting robots and systems via AWS IoT RoboRunner's Fleet Gateway Library.
  • Tools to develop robotics management applications with services such as AWS Lambda and AWS IoT Greengrass.
  • APIs for applications and allocating tasks to robot fleets.

Separately, AWS launched the AWS Robotics Startup Accelerator, which aims to mentor robotics startups. The accelerator, part of a collaboration with MassRobotics, will accept startups in a four-week program. The program includes mentoring, help with technology blockers, hands-on AWS training and $10,000 in promotional credits for use of AWS IoT, Robotics and machine learning services.

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