Let's Build a Robot with Wind River VxWorks, Part 1

May 12, 2021


As with most electronic devices today, industrial, healthcare, and other robots are becoming more intelligent. And thanks to this intelligence, they are able to perform much more complex tasks than in the past, autonomously navigating their surroundings, interacting directly with humans, and forging a path towards the collaborative robot paradigm that will be the hallmark of Industry 5.0.

But Industry 5.0 is still a vision of the future, and before the field of robotics can reach that horizon, robots must be able to operate safely and deterministically at the edge, cut off from any additional intelligence available in the cloud/data center. This is no small task, given that many of the applications from which these systems derive the majority of their real-world intelligence – AI-based obstacle detection and avoidance algorithms, analytics engines, and so on – were in fact developed in data center-like environments.

So how do you transport those software from stable, homogenous platforms like an IT development server to a hot, dirty, moving system like an autonomous mobile robot? And, how do you do so in a way that maintains the integrity of the robotic system, ensuring that it can operate safely and securely amongst people?

In this episode of Embedded Toolbox, the first of five in our “Let’s Build a Robot” series, Rob Woolley, Principal Technologist in the Technology Office at Wind River, lays out the drivers behind next-generation autonomous robot platforms built on frameworks like the Robot Operating System and capabilities like enterprise-class AI. He then proceeds to demonstrate how these software solutions can be supported on safety-critical edge robots using the VxWorks real-time operating system and docker containers.

Tune in to get started on building an autonomous mobile robot of your own.