While Amazon was planning to deliver goods via drones, Google’s Andy Rubin was already busy working on a project which is more droid like. Google “moonshot” an ambitious “10-year vision” for building state of the art robot hardware and software plans to change the whole robotics space in the course of time. And if we trust Google, which uses open source software in large scale, these robots may be well powered by Linux.
Earlier this year, Google has released a prototype of the self-driving car which had Linux running in its core. Ubuntu based self-driving Toyota Prius logged 500,000 miles of autonomous driving with no accidents caused by the computer. Its can be expected that rather than reinventing the while, Google engineers may use Linux in their drones too.
In the meantime, Google has quietly acquired seven robotics companies all over the world, which include Schaft, a Japanese tech company acclaimed for making humanoid robots. Other companies include Meka, Redwood Robotics, Industrial Perception, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, and Holomni. From the scale of investment from Google, it can be confirmed that this is not just another toy project.
Some of the application areas which robotics can be useful include manufacturing and logistics. While not currently aimed for consumers, these robots will be a geat help in electronics assembly which is mostly manual.
There is a possibility that Robot Operating System (ROS) may be combined with Android, just like Rethink Wireless’ Baxter. There are already some engineers working to build a ROS compatible cloud services for robots, which can put this revolution one step forward.
In next one or two years maybe we will be able to see Linux powered robots in action. This will put forward another space which is run or dominated by Linux.