Cloud-based Software Platform Reduces Robots Development Time by 80%

To join the tidal wave of new robotic systems, one needs easy to use high-level plug and play solution with ready made proven libraries. Cogniteam from Petach Tikva (near Tel Aviv), said its new Nimbus Operating System, announced this week, answer these needs. “Nimbus Delivers a seamless user experience from development, to deployment, and in-field maintenance.” Said Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah.

During the last 11 years Cogniteam has developed artificial intelligence technologies for mapping, navigation and autonomous decision-making, working with companies like Mitsubishi, Intel, and others. This experience is the basis of Nimbus: A cloud-based platform with all the artificial intelligence you need to develop, analyze and manage robot fleets remotely and in real-time. It contains a library of proven algorithms for mapping, navigation and is able to auto-configure these algorithms for quick set-up.

Nimbus offers pre-developed drivers and software packages in a drag n’ drop environment, making it easy to incorporate advanced sensors and complicated features. It also integrates with the open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS) and other 3rd party resources. Now, as hardware engineers develop the physical aspects of the robots, they can upload the blueprints into Nimbus and allow software teams to program the robot in a simulated environment.

Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah
Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah

“By allowing hardware and software teams to work in tandem, instead of having one team wait for the other, teams can cut the time needed to bring their product to market 80% faster,” said Dr. Nachum Kaminka, CFO of Cogniteam. “In the past, hardware-focused teams would focus their resources on developing the physical aspects of the robot. They become tied down by the unexpectedly complex nature of robotic software development,” said Elmaliah.

“Nimbus cloud-based platform makes it possible to share robot access through multiple teams, allowing software and hardware developers to work together during development and even troubleshoot in-field challenges, remotely.” The company said that Nimbus platform has already been adopted by partners such as AAEON and Adlink.

On September 2021, Cogniteam raised $4.2 million in a private investment equity round led by Seabarn Management’s Founder & CEO, Andrew Owens and an investment group from the UK-based Panthera private office. “Our recent funding round has allowed us to extend our product to new companies around the globe,” said Kaminka.

Open-source Robots

In fact, Nimbus is part of a wider move. aimed to bring open-source resources into the robotics industry. Cogniteam’s blog provides this context: “Most of the robots created today are still closed boxes; the OS cannot be updated, and they are not ROS-based. iRobot, for example, discussed their intention in 2019 to move away from a proprietary operating system to a ROS based one, and is currently using ROS only for testing its infrastructure in AWS Robomaker.

“This is just one example. If you take a look at the robots around you, most of the issues they face will never be solvable and their behavior will not change greatly. Today’s ROS-based robots will be replaced by a whole new OS with a full-blown new ROS release in a new robot. Now ROS has come into the picture, making data visualization, SLAM algorithms, and navigating robots something that anyone with some free time and a step-by-step tutorial can follow through, test, and customize.”

Brazil approved a pilot of Fast food Deliveries Drone

Above: Brazilian Aviation inspectors inspect Speedbird’s drone and the Para-Zero’s parachute

The Brazilian Speedbird Aero has received approval from the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil to operate delivery drones in two experimental routes in Sao Paulo. Speedbird’s drones are equipped with the safety system of the Israel based Para-Zero, which includes a parachute and a control system that ensure a safe landing of the drone in cases of loss of control, malfunction or collision. As part of the approval process, the Brazilian Aviation Authority conducted tests designed to ensure the safety of operating Speedbird drones in crowded urban areas.

The pilot is expected to begin in December 2020. One of the routes is about a mile long and the drones will fly in it beyond the operator’s line of sight. Lately, Para-Zero’s customers have been granted flight permits by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly autonomous, remotely controlled drones beyond the operator’s line of sight. In addition, Hensel Phelps, one of the largest construction companies in the United States, received a permit to fly drones over crowds of people, as part of its employment of drones over construction sites during working hours.

Para-Zero’s system includes two main components: An autonomous control system that can detect emergencies in which the drone loses control, whether due to a malfunction, collision, or weather conditions, as well as due to deviating from the area allowed for flight. In such cases, the system takes control of the drone and shuts down the motor in order to prevent dangerous damage to power cables or people. Following this, the system activates the parachute, which allows for a slow and controlled landing on the ground.

Para-Zero was founded in 2012 by Brigadier General (Res.) Eden Atias, a former pilot and squadron commander in the Israeli Air Force; Amir Tsaliah, who serves as the company’s chief science officer; and Oren Aviram, who serves as the company’s VP of marketing. The company says its system can ensure the safe landing of both a drone hovering at low altitudes of 6.5 feet, as well as  heavyweight drones, that weigh up to 730 lbs and hover at an altitude of over 30 feet.

Ecoppia received $40 million investment for Solar Panels Cleaning Robots

CIM Group has made a $40 million investment in Herzliya-based Ecoppia, a provider of robots for automatic cleaning of solar panels, and became the largest shareholder in the company. Ecoppia’s VP of marketing, Anat Cohen-Segev, told Techtime that CIM’s evolving ecosystem in the solar market will drive business expantion. “They have established extensive activity in the solar market.”

Ecoppia’s robots clean the solar panels automatically using only microfiber and without the use of water. Regular cleaning is vital, as dust and dirt may dramatically reduce their power output. These autonomous robots clean the panels every night, removing about 99% of the dust that has accumulated during the day. One robot is capable of cleaning 1,200 panels a night.

Ecoppia robots have their own on-board dedicated solar module, allowing batteries to quickly charge in between operations. A cloud-based platform enables remote management via any connected device, while data arriving from smart sensors and AI platform can independently initiate cleanings, based on weather conditions and other parameters.

Founded in the early 1990s by the two Israelis, Avi Shemesh and Shaul Kuba, CIM Group currently manages assets worth of $60 billion. Its portfolio company, Sky Power from Canada, manages solar projects with a total capacity of 2,500 megawatts worldwide. Earlier this year CIM has begun developing the Westlands Solar Park, a 20,000 acres solar park in California, planned to produce 2,700 megawatts.

COVID-19 had a Positive Impact

Ecoppia collaborates with leading Energy companies such as the French Engie Group and EDF, the Indian NTPC and Adani Power, Actis Group from the UK, unEdisson/TerraForm from the US. It says that its activities have grown annually by 200% in the last 6 years. Big financial backer is crucial in the energy market: agreements demand long-term commitment, sometimes for decades, and the ecosystem prefer a strong financial soundness. Thus, CIM Group’s investment helps Ecoppia to meet the financial standards needed in the market.

Unlike many technology companies, the COVID-19 crisis had a positive impact on Ecoppia’s businesses. Cohen-Segev: “It made our advantage clearer. Due to the quarantine and social distancing, maintenance works were stopped at many solar sites, and the panels accumulated dust and dirt that damaged performance. However, in the case of our customers, cleaning works continued as usual, since the cleaning is performed by automatic robots. We have always believed in automation, and COVID-19 has accelerated this understanding among energy companies as well.”

Duke Robotics has become a publicly-traded company in the US

Duke Robotics was merged into the UAS Drone Corp. (OTC: USDR), and is now a publicly-traded company. UAS Drone hasn’t been active, but constitutes a “public shell” that allows Duke Robotics to become an American public company. Duke Robotics was established by veterans of Israeli special forces units, and has developed a light weapons-carrying drone for infantry combat missions in urban areas.

Duke Robotics stated that the goal of the move is to promote the marketing of its combat drone, TIKAD. UAS Drone is traded on the Pink Market, an over-the-counter (OTC) market where penny stocks, low-value shares that trade for less than one dollar per share, are traded. It is subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is required to submit periodic reports and report on any cardinal events. Being a public company, Duke will be able to raise capital from investors through the sale of its shares.

A Flying Fighting Robot

Established in 2014, Duke Robotics has developed a flying octocopter (with 8 rotors) combat robot, capable of carrying up to 9kg of light weapons that can be operated remotely via a tablet. The robot is integrated with Six Degrees of Freedom (can move in all three axes of the three-dimensional space) enabling it to perform complex and precise combat missions. According to the company, it meets the challenge of counter terrorism activity in urban areas.

In June 2016, the company’s robot received the 1st place prize at the Counter terrorism Technologies Conference, organized by the American Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), the Israeli Directorate of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D) and the MIT Enterprise Forum. In 2017 the company reported that it was working closely with the IDF and expected orders from the Ministry of Defense.