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Amazon’s cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has launched RoboMaker, a service designed to help developers build, test, and deploy robotics applications through the cloud.

With the rise in artificial intelligence (AI), we’ve seen countless companies emerge across the technology spectrum to bring automation to industries through software. Tying into that, we’ve also seen a marked rise in the real-world application of robotics, which includes autonomous food delivery services, delivery drones, and smarter warehouses.

Robots in the making

AWS RoboMaker offers developers the ability to develop their code in the cloud, test it in open source robotics simulator Gazebo, and then deploy updates directly to their robots — be they airborne drones or robotic companions for the elderly. It also works on top of Robot Operating System (ROS), an open source framework for developing robotics software.

Ultimately, RoboMaker helps developers simultaneously create and configure multiple virtual worlds — from factories to retail stores — in which they can test software for their robots before deploying the code for real.

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“When talking to our customers, we see the same pattern repeated over and again,” noted AWS RoboMaker general manager Roger Barga in a press release. “They spend a lot of time setting up infrastructure and cobbling together software for different stages of the robotics development cycle, repeating work others have done before, leaving less time for innovation.”

But Amazon’s core pitch to developers here isn’t just a centralized development environment in the cloud — it’s also about serving access to myriad machine learning and analytics services, from the facial ID smarts of Amazon Rekognition, chatbot interface builder Amazon Lex, and synthesized human voices of Amazon Polly to the application and infrastructure monitoring tools within CloudWatch.

Additionally, RoboMaker integrates with Amazon SageMaker, a platform unveiled last year for developers who want to build their own custom machine learning systems.

“AWS RoboMaker provides prebuilt functionality to support robotics developers during their entire project, making it significantly easier to build robots, simulate performance in various environments, iterate faster, and drive greater innovation,” Barga added.

Bot and sold

While Amazon itself relies heavily on robotics in its own factories and warehouses, the company is also reportedly planning to enter the consumer robotics realm next year with a home robot called Vesta, though details on these plans are fairly scant.

The global robotics market is estimated to become a $500 billion industry by 2025, up from $40 billion last year.

Amazon said that AWS RoboMaker is available to cloud customers in the U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland), though it will open to other regions over the next year.

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