Embedded in Robotic Technologies

Published: 22 July 2022

Embedded in Robotic Technologies

As technology advances, so too do the capabilities of robotics. Embedded systems are becoming increasingly commonplace in robots, as they provide the necessary computing power and control. Embedded systems can be found in a variety of robotic technologies, from industrial and commercial applications to consumer products.

One of the advantages of our embedded systems is that they can run multiple operating systems. This allows for greater flexibility and customisability in robotic applications. Embedded systems can also be used to control other devices, such as sensors and actuators. This gives a robot the ability to interact with their environment in a more natural way through increased data availability

Environmental factors

Industry leaders are seeking industrial computing hardware that can operate in harsh conditions. This equipment must not only manage severe situations such as high levels of vibration, humidity, and temperature but also fulfil criteria regarding computing performance, real-time computing and communication, thermal management, and safety standards. All of these are vital aspects of reliable and long-lasting robot control systems.

Robots working with humans

Functional safety is critical for many modern robotic applications and will become even more important when innovations in robotics that deliver optimised functions are also enabling close collaboration between humans and robots in the same workspace. When a robot fails, there is a risk to the surrounding workers, product safety and public safety. Therefore, mitigating safety risks under these conditions will become a fundamental requirement that is considered an integral part of robot system design.

One of our embedded partners, Congatec, offers functional safety- certifiable computer modules to help robot builders and OEM customers shorten the time to market. Computer-on-Modules can be utilised as an application-ready building block including relevant software components such as bootloader, hypervisor and BSP that is already certifiable for functional safety and receive the support and documentation from us to speed up the development cycle.

Easy safety management with hypervisor capabilities

What is Hypervisor?

Hypervisor is a layer of software between the operating system and hardware that allows multiple virtual machines to share a single physical machine. Hypervisor can be used to run multiple operating systems on a single computer, allowing each operating system to have its own set of applications and services. This is important for ensuring safe mixed-criticality workloads when designing the system with functional safety to separate safety-critical tasks from other tasks and allows more computing power to be executed at a higher level of efficiency on a single piece of hardware with low latency.

What is BSP?

The Board Support Package (BSP) is the link between software and hardware in an embedded system. It provides a set of routines that allow the operating system to interface with the hardware, including device drivers, memory management, and interrupt handling. The BSP also provides Board-Specific Information (BSI), which is data that is specific to the hardware platform. This information includes the memory map, I/O mapping, and interrupt routing.

Simply AI and 3D machine vision development

While sensor fusion helps robots to be more accurate, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) can help make robots intelligent. Incorporating AI into robot systems can help enable robots to intelligently perceive, make decisions and perform tasks. A robot with AI capabilities can intelligently detect the object and its position, to take action accordingly. Congatec’s COM Express modules provide the demanded performance scalability from Intel’s low-power to high-end processors. Combining Intel’s heterogeneous processor technology with Intel’s OpenVINO™ AI toolkit offer deep-learning models, device portability, and higher inferencing performance with fewer code changes to accelerate AI application development.

Recommended products from Congatec

Conga-MA7

COM Express® Mini Type 10 module based on Intel® Atom® x6000E, Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® J processor series

Conga-TC570r

COM Express Type 6 Compact module based on 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processor family (code name "Tiger Lake") and soldered down memory

Conga-TCA7

COM Express Type 6 Compact based on Intel® Atom® x6000E, Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® J processor series

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