Robohub.org
 

Brian Gerkey on “What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?”

by
15 May 2013



share this:

The biggest obstacle to broader adoption of robotics is that only experienced roboticists can develop robotics applications.  To make a robot reliably and robustly do something useful, you need a deep understanding of a broad variety of topics, from state estimation to perception to path planning.  While few people in the world have this expertise, many people can write software.  What we need is more of those software developers involved in the business of developing robotics applications.

I say “applications” to distinguish this work from that of developing new algorithms or core building blocks.  Making an analogy to traditional software development, I don’t need to understand how process schedulers, or file systems, or memory managers work in order to develop useful desktop applications.  And I don’t need to know the details of DNS, web servers, or web sockets to develop portable web applications.  Knowing more about the underpinnings of the system will always be useful, of course.  But the key is that, once the building blocks are established, understood, documented, and tutorialized, the barrier has been greatly lowered: you just need to be able to write code.

Beyond just getting more people working with robots, we need better ideas for how robotics technology can be usefully and profitably employed to support people in their everyday lives.  My experience in the robotics community over the last 15 years has convinced me that roboticists are pathologically bad at coming up with application ideas.  We’re enamored of the technology, which is good in that it motivates us to work hard on important problems.  But it also leads us to concentrate on “robotic” solutions to problems, without regard to what people who experience those problems really need.  We can fix this problem by adding orders of magnitude more developers to our community, each of whom comes with a new and different perspective. And we can do that by making the development of robotics applications accessible to any competent programmer.

The Android and iOS platforms made it possible for people with no more than a passing understanding of 3G, GPS, or touch screens to build useful, even world-changing mobile applications.  We can do the same for robotics.  We’re on the right path, with a lot of effort going into open, shared software platforms for robotics.  We just need to keep pushing, and to keep the non-robotics engineer in mind when we’re building things.

Read more answers →



tags: ,


Brian Gerkey is CEO of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF).
Brian Gerkey is CEO of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF).





Related posts :



How robots and bubbles could soon help clean up underwater litter

Everyone loves to visit the seaside, whether to enjoy the physical benefits of an exhilarating swim or simply to relax on the beach and catch some sun. But these simple life affirming pleasures are easily ruined by the presence of litter, which if persistent can have a serious negative impact on both the local environment and economy. However, help is at hand to ensure the pristine nature of our coastlines.
19 January 2022, by

Maria Gini wins the 2022 ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award

Congratulations to Maria Gini on winning this prestigious award, recognising her research and leadership in the field of robotics and multi-agent systems.
18 January 2022, by

UN fails to agree on ‘killer robot’ ban as nations pour billions into autonomous weapons research

Given the pace of research and development in autonomous weapons, the U.N. meeting might have been the last chance to head off an arms race.
16 January 2022, by

Science Magazine robot videos 2021

A compilation of Science Magazine videos featuring robotics research that were released during last year.
14 January 2022, by

CBQ: Commercial-grade Autonomous Mowers, Safety, and Dogfooding | Sense Think Act Podcast #11

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks to Charles Brian Quinn (aka, CBQ), CEO and a Co-Founder of Greenzie. Greenzie make an autonomous driving system for commercial lawn mowers. We talk about Greenzie's...
11 January 2022, by and

California’s AV testing rules apply to Tesla’s “FSD”

Tesla is testing its self-proclaimed “full self-driving” vehicles on California roads without complying with the testing requirements of California’s automated driving law.
10 January 2022, by and





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association