Qobotix this week announced a new “universal AI” operating system that it claimed will add intelligence to collaborative robots in manufacturing. The Ventura, Calif.-based company said it spent two years on research and development, as well as installations of its software at major automakers.
Qobotix claimed that its proprietary machine vision and intelligence technology and patented kinematics can improve human-machine collaboration at a fraction of the cost and complexity of traditional automation. The company said its systems are designed to provide flexibility in operations including precision inspection, picking, packing, and assembly tasks.
Qobotiz OS is vendor-agnostic
Just as Android OS and Apple iOS offer application platforms that run on smartphones, Qobotix said its operating system can coordinate industrial automation capabilities. The company added that Qobotix OS is vendor-agnostic, plug-and-play technology that enables complex tasks to be automated that were previously thought possible for only humans to complete.
One innovation that Qobotix touted is that it enables robots to learn independently. Humans can train robots by interacting with them, and robots can learn from one another, unlike existing industrial systems, which are pre-programmed to perform only one task. As a result, cobots to be programmed in hours or days rather than weeks, said the company. This level of human-machine collaboration allows employees to be deployed for higher-value tasks.
With Qobotix OS, manufacturers can boost their manufacturing productivity, reduce costs, and simplify manufacturing processes, said the company. In addition, Qobotix offers complete robot stations that are designed for rapid deployment for different tasks on manufacturing lines.
Qobotix Cloud provides a factory management platform with a centralized repository of work intelligence that can be shared between machines to manage production analytics and provide managers with deep analysis of robotic performance. The company said it is seeking early adopters and aims to distribute 20-50 robot stations in the first year with deployment, training and testing that can be done on the same day.
Qobotix founders identify manufacturing need
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to reassess their supply chains and offshore production, causing many to seek more flexible, localized operations. Qobotix said it can help manufacturers quickly switch between projects, produce at a high volume for a shorter time, and workers safe through social distancing.
Qobotix was founded by Avi Reichental, a 3D printing pioneer and industry veteran; Egor Korneev, a serial entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field of machine learning and vision systems; and George Votis, the founder, chairman, CEO of Galt Industries, Inc.
“During our many years involved in industrial manufacturing, we experienced robots that were meant to be collaborative and quickly concluded they were not like that at all,” said Reichental. “They couldn’t see or hear, and they were very inflexible.”
The team said it recognized a major gap in the market and decided to develop their own technology with the aim of bringing vision and intelligence to collaborative robots, freeing humans from repetitive tasks to enable them to achieve more complex and strategic roles.
“Our aim is to take robotics out of the late 1990s with the Qobotix operating system,” said Qobotix CEO Korneev. “In the early 2000s, hardware companies dominated the mobile phone and device markets, and the mobile applications ecosystem was weak with no common OS options. The advent of iOS and Android led to an explosion in mobile software applications based on open OS platforms. We are now in a similar place with cobots, with Qobotix offering a universal operating system for industrial robots driven by AI as a platform for automation applications.”
“Qobotix marks a milestone in the manufacturing and services industries,” Reichental said. “Qobotix changes the game for manufacturing and services by eliminating time-consuming processes such as programming to significantly lower costs and increase output. This presents a huge opportunity for all manufacturers in their everyday operations.”
“Qobotix offers a strong return on investment by freeing up people for higher-level tasks,” said Votis. “With Qobotix, robots can more easily collaborate with each other and allow manufacturers to deploy production stations within different production lines each day, saving time and costs while boosting productivity.”