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In Cloud Computing Last updated: February 1, 2023
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Cloud robotics enables robotics hardware and software solutions developers to produce affordable robots for business or household applications.

Cloud computing has become the next big thing in the IT technology spectrum. All those grumpy-looking desktop software are now available on the cloud with a better look and user experience.

Similarly, robot designers and developers have also decided to move a part of the robotics processes to the cloud to save on the cost of production in many ways.

If you are into robotics, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), you must read this article until the end to learn the foundational knowledge of cloud robotics.

Cloud Computing and Robotics

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The race for a superior cloud computing technology infrastructure began with the funding of Project MAC at MIT, Massachusetts, by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US in 1963.

The project was supposed to lay the foundation for a race of computers that would allow multiple people to use them simultaneously.

Later on, the development and publishing of the ARPANET in 1969 made resource and data sharing among computers through a wide area network help in advancing the technological developments of modern cloud computing.

Officially, modern cloud computing services began with the launch of Salesforce software on the cloud in 1999. Since then, there has been rapid development in this technology niche with the emergence of cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and more.

The history and development of robotics date back to 1954, decades before the first ideation of cloud computing. Robotics started with the Unimate robot sold to General Motors by the first-ever robotics company in the world, Unimation.

Unimate was a hydraulic, mechanical arm that could lift and move heavy loads that factory workers could not do. Since then, robotics has traveled a long way to this date, and now there are service robots made by advanced robotics companies like Robotnik, KUKA Robotics, Triowin, and so on.

These service robots can be fully or partially automatic and perform various tasks faster and free from errors. 

No doubt, cloud computing has extensively helped the robotics industry to grow. And nowadays, robotics and cloud experts are considering using cloud robotics to make robots highly accessible for any need.           

What Is Cloud Robotics?

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Cloud robotics is a powerful and successful fusion of cloud and robotics technologies. Here, robots can use the cloud computing infrastructure to use computational resources like data processing, data insights, virtual operating systems, IoT, online data storage, and more to perform their regular tasks. 

With the onset of cloud robotics, the hardware and software developers for the robotics industry no longer need to rely on the onboard capabilities of the robot being developed.

The robotics industry will be able to reduce the usage of semiconductor chips and electrical and electronic components when producing robots for business or household usage. These robots will become smaller, lighter, and more agile.

In cloud robotics, the main idea is very much similar to you using Adobe Express, Canva, Salesforce, Procreate, YouTube, business CRMs, ERPs, etc., on the cloud using just a web browser. Likewise, robots can access data from the internet, intranet, and IoT devices to accomplish their tasks. 

They do not need to come with heavy onboard computers and memories to perform the calculations themselves. They can borrow intelligence from cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions.      

Capabilities of Cloud Robotics

#1. Outsource Computation-Demanding Processes

A robot developer can focus on the design, mechanics, features, agility, and reliability while outsourcing the processing capabilities to a cloud robotics platform. Thus, more companies can enter the robot development business.

#2. Rapid Deployment of Service Robots

Businesses can now deploy robots in the frontline faster since cloud robotics allows the repurposing of one robot for multiple tasks.

#3. Online Troubleshooting

With this capability of a cloud robotics solution, a business does not need to employ an in-house team of robotics technicians. 

The manufacturer can troubleshoot the robots using cloud solutions. Also, this enables the use of robotics in hard-to-reach places where the internet is available. If the robots fail for any reason other than the physical destruction of onboard hardware/firmware, technicians from the manufacturer can repair the robot online.  

Importance of Cloud Robotics

Cloud robotics is the need of the hour because of the following reasons: 

Firstly, Raw materials to produce semiconductor chips and other delicate electronic components are becoming scarce. If cloud robotics can reduce the out-of-the-box hardware requirement for a robot, then cloud robotics is the must-have technology for the robotics industry.

Secondly, Manufacturing a self-sustaining robot is costly. However, this does not add any value to the global supply chain for robots in business use. Businesses need affordable robots in mass to manage large warehouses, packaging, manufacturing, etc. They do not need self-sustaining systems; they need agility and the ability to control thousands of robots from a single computer using a cloud network.

Finally, with cloud robotics solution providers taking care of programming, machine learning, and robotic intelligence, robot manufacturers can simply focus on improving the design and adding more functionalities.     

Components of Cloud Robotics

The followings are the standard components to build an effective cloud robotics solution: 

  • A physical and software network to establish machine-to-machine or M2M and machine-to-cloud or M2C connectivity. M2M and M2C will help a cloud robotics solution operator to control individual robots and all the robots in a group.
  • A global database of digital content that machines can understand, like images, texts, numbers, formulas, binary data, videos, coordinates, navigation data, knowledgebases, and so on.
  • Giant supercomputers that can handle multiple inbound connection requests to serve them with statistical data, motion instructions, scheduling, task instructions, and coordination.
  • Neural engine programs within the robots to make them machine learning-compatible.
  • Open-source and proprietary software or codes for cloud robotics solutions.
  • A GUI console for human technicians overseeing the cloud robots and intervening remotely when needed.      

Now, let’s explore the difference between automation and cloud robotics.

Automation Vs. Cloud Robotics

Though automation and cloud robotics may look similar, some fundamental differences exist. These are outlined in this table: 

FeaturesAutomationCloud Robotics
DefinitionAutomation is the replacement of humans with machines to solve repetitive and manual tasks efficientlyCloud robotics is a framework to link robots with the cloud and provide these machines with data insights and instructions from the cloud
ScopeAutomation could be anywhere, like in the virtual world or the real worldCloud robotics is mostly real-world
PurposeAutomation purely organizes and streamlines boring repetitive tasksThough robots are efficient in resolving repetitive tasks, they also are useful for handling delicate tasks as well as tasks that require massive strength
Requirement of HardwareAutomation may or may not require any hardware. For example, automation performed with Zapier, IFTTT, and Power Automate automates digital tasksCloud robotics specifically speaks about physical service robots, and they always require hardware

Advantages of Cloud Robotics

Find some practical advantages of cloud robotics below: 

#1. Collaborative Development


Several software developers and hardware manufacturers for the robotics industry can conveniently form consortiums for the rapid development and deployment of service robots.

The hardware producers can work on the physical items, whereas the software developers can work on the cloud part of the robots. 

Different parties can create their own revenue system and secure access to build robots together yet profit at a deserved rate.

#2. Solutions Development and Outsourcing

Companies good in hardware designing, molding, and manufacturing can enter the robotics industry without going deep into software or firmware development. 

They can get the required cloud infrastructure from outsourcing agencies, install the tools on robots, and connect them to the internet for data intelligence during frontline operations.

#3. Make Robots Cheap and Accessible

When robots can access the data and instructions they need from a cloud computer, they do not need to contain advanced computing resources onboard.

A minimal computer that can analyze cloud data and instruct the onboard actuators and sensors to perform their tasks will be sufficient. Thus, robots will contain less hardware, and the price will be lesser too.

#4. Agility in Robots

Early robots looked awful and massive. Because they had to accommodate many machines on their chassis. Nowadays, with cloud robotics, robots are becoming small, agile, and attractive.

#5. Recycling

Businesses do not need to buy specialized robots for different purposes. They can get all-purpose service robots that can be modified using cloud solutions to fit specific automated process requirements.

Of course, the production line should also be designed accordingly. Any requirement for new hardware in a robot will not serve the purpose of recycling robots just using cloud infrastructures. Technicians need to access the robot and modify its physical components.           

Challenges of Cloud Robotics

Since cloud robotics is still in its nascent stage of development, it is obvious that the niche will be struggling with challenges and impediments.

Find below some common cloud robotics issues that you can solve to create and market novel solutions that could earn you a fortune:

#1. Network Accessibility


The inherent problem of the internet network is bandwidth shortage when many devices try to access the same resource on the cloud.

Hence, cloud robotics-enabled service robots can become inoperable if the network infrastructure breaks down during maintenance and scheduled downtimes.

#2. Edge Analytics

The preachers of cloud robotics have found a fail-safe for cloud-based robots with the development of edge analytics. It is perceived that the edge computing system can supply the robots with the localized data insights they need to function when the cloud network is unavailable.

However, this would again increase the reliance on more hardware. Cloud robotics was introduced to reduce the use of local hardware and increase usage of networked intelligence delivered via intranet or internet.

#3. Cloud Security


The most concerning challenge of cloud security is network security. It is understood that anything on the network can be hacked. Hence, cloud robotics solutions will come under heavy targets of phishing, hacking, social engineering, etc. 

If hackers can not get inside the cloud console that controls thousands of robots, they may make the entire network a target of a Denial-of-service attack (DoS attack).

#4. Speed of Robots

Cloud-based robots may experience varying agility in the same device under different conditions. For example, when the cloud network is busy, the robots may respond slower than the expected response rate. On the contrary, the same robots can offer optimum speed and accuracy when the cloud network is not busy anymore.

Hence, the manufacturing plants will have to adjust the automated process according to the current latency level of the responses of the robots in action.             

Learning Resources

Cloud Robotics: A Complete Guide

This book on Cloud Robotics helps you become an expert solution developer of cloud-based robot processes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Cloud Robotics A Complete Guide - 2020 Edition Cloud Robotics A Complete Guide – 2020 Edition No ratings yet $81.30

It also guides you to understand how to modernize the existing robot development process to suit its cloud computing counterpart. 

Implementing Cloud Robotics

The book on Implementing Cloud Robotics discusses the current impediments to full-service cloud robotics implementation and ways to resolve such common challenges.

It also proposes a methodology to develop functional service robots using off-the-shelf robots and modifying their firmware using proprietary or open-source cloud robotics solutions.

Wrapping Up

By now, you should have developed a basic and semi-advanced idea about cloud robotics. In a nutshell, this is a growing technology in process automation. 

Hence, IT giants like Microsoft, Amazon Robotics, IBM Corporation, C2RO Cloud Robotics, Hit Robot Group, V3 Smart Technologies, Intel, Google, Omron Adept Technologies, Fetch Robotics, etc., are already growing their influence in the cloud robotics market. 

According to a recent report by Research and Markets, the cloud robotics industry was a $7.52 billion industry. But it will grow to a $23.59 billion revenue-earning market by 2026. 

Hence, the niche will create more job and business opportunities. 

If you are a career seeker, individual developer, or business seeking to utilize cloud robotics in your favor to earn a fortune, you must prepare right now.

Next, you can check out Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

  • Tamal Das
    Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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