Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) need a navigation solution. Off-the-shelf navigation solutions come in two flavors:
a) Navigation in a box (or Box) — Box includes hardware — typically a compute board and an IMU — and software. The navigation software runs on the compute board inside the Box.
b) Software (only) navigation solutions — Software only navigation solutions run on the robot’s primary compute board. No hardware is bundled with software navigation solutions.
Myths about Navigation in a Box solution
1) Box comes with all the hardware related to navigation — As noted above, Box usually includes a compute board and an IMU. Wheel encoders, Motor drives, Safety Sensors, Cameras, and batteries are not part of the Box. These need to be purchased separately.
2) Box needs no integration — This is not true. Since Wheel encoders, Motor drives, LiDAR, Safety Sensors, and Cameras are placed elsewhere on the robot, there is always some hardware integration to be done. If the bot has its own compute board for the application, the two boards will need to be interfaced.
Advantages of a software solution
1) Most robots include a primary compute board (unless the bot has no application to run). The applications that power the bot do not need all the computing power available. Software navigation solutions can co-exist with the bot’s application on the same board. Box adds a second compute board to the set-up, leading to higher power consumption and faster battery drain.
2) Software navigation solutions are flexible by nature. Mowito works with you to ensure that our navigation stack works hand in glove with your application. Box manufacturers resist software changes that need the underlying hardware to change.
3) The remote deployment comes naturally to software navigation solutions. Mowito’s customers are spread across North America and Asia. Updates are a breeze.
4) The cost of a Box could be significant. This will unfavorably alter the pricing for small robot makers (cleaning robots, surveillance robots, etc).
5) Software navigation solutions give Hardware engineers more choice in selecting components ( Wheel encoders, Motor drives, LiDAR, Safety Sensors, Cameras, etc) for the bot. With a Box though, the choice is narrowed down to the components suggested by the Box manufacturer.
Mowito specializes in software navigation solutions. Mowito engineers spend crazy hours perfecting the art and science of robot navigation. Not just that. We will help you make the right hardware choices to meet your navigation needs. Mowito’s software navigation solutions are available both as a monthly subscription and as a perpetual license.
If you are building a bot, do get in touch with us. We would love to work with you. You can email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .