May 19, 2021
InOrbit, which develops cloud-based software that helps operations staff with the monitoring and management of their robot fleets, has announced Time Capsule, a new offering aimed at giving roboticists and operations greater insights into the reasons why their robots might be failing in certain locations or scenarios. The Time Capsule offering is immediately available for new and existing InOrbit customers, the company said.
The InOrbit platform lets robot companies install agent software (the InOrbit Agent) on each robot, which then starts to collect data that is integrated into the cloud-based platform. For Time Capsule, the data from the platform is captured and presented through an integrated dashboard, giving roboticists and engineers a visualization of a robot’s path, a heat map or indication of when an autonomy exception/incident occurred. This helps companies discover the root cause analysis of incidents, allowing them to improve their systems, InOrbit said.
“One of the things we saw was that people have a lot of the data that they’re recording, but then getting into the data and making it actionable was really hard,” said Florian Pestoni, CEO and co-founder of InOrbit. “For example, a robot could be moving around a warehouse and it bumps into something, which triggers an incident. You really want to know after the fact what happened just before and just after the incident. With Time Capsule, you can immediately go and see all the incidents, go to the time that is relevant, and then a robotics expert can apply root cause analysis to understand what happened, and hopefully, how to prevent that in the future.”
The company also updated its user experience with easier-to-use dashboards and interfaces, with the goal of providing data based on a person’s role at the company. For example, an executive can access key performance indicators about the overall fleet performance, while a roboticist can configure their dashboard with different data sources and visualizations to provide detailed information about a single robot or location.
Another improvement is the ability for customers to get situational awareness about a robot, including understanding the robot’s position on a map, seeing through multiple cameras, visualizing other sensor data such as a point cloud generated by lidar, or tracking the robot’s movement. If a robot gets mislocalized, InOrbit said its intuitive tools can fix the problem in seconds, or allow an operator to give it a “gentle nudge” to go back to operating autonomously.
InOrbit’s Time Capsule dashboard lets users view a robot’s path, heat map, or time-based incidents when autonomy exceptions occur.
“The whole value of autonomous robots is that they’re autonomous, so they should be doing their thing without having somebody constantly driving them,” said Pestoni. “You want the robot to be doing its thing, going back and forth in a warehouse, or on a farm, or whatever the task is. But you also want to deal with unique cases, especially in an unstructured environment, those will happen. That’s why our focus is more on this idea of nudging, which is teleoperating the robot, but to get the robot back to operation as quickly as possible.”
Customers of InOrbit have praised the company for its operational approach. “As we’ve been preparing our introduction of a brand new robot, InOrbit has been with us every step of the way in enabling targeted real-time observation that we have rolled out to our distributed team,” said Steve Croft, executive vice president of operations at Savioke Robotics, which develops autonomous mobile robots that deliver items in hospitality settings. “On top of that, InOrbit is solving a critical need we have by bringing key data together for offline analysis as we continuously refine our technology.”
Another robotics company, Agility Robotics, said that robotics companies need to continuously improve their tools and infrastructure. “If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s never too early to optimize the operation of autonomous robots,” said Michael Norrell, vice president of operations at Agility. “In order to achieve this, it’s critical that robotics companies deploy tools and infrastructure that enable continuous improvement and continuous learning across the company in order to realize the promise of this emerging technology.”
InOrbit is offering a free webinar that will showcase Time Capsule and the new improvements to the interface. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 26, at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET). To sign up, click this link.