At its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, AWS announced a number of new services aimed at developers to create more on its cloud-based platform.

One of the more eye-catching announcements came in the form of RoboMaker, which as the name eludes to, involves making a set of tools available for developers to create, test and deploy their own robotic devices, solutions or applications.

Before you jump the gun and think AWS is trying to help start the robot uprising, RoboMaker is rather an open-source robotics software framework.

This Robotic Operating System (ROS) opens up access to AWS’ machine learning, analytics and monitoring tools, with the company’s Cloud9 environment serving as the backbone.

“AWS RoboMaker automatically provisions the underlying infrastructure and it downloads, compiles, and configures the operating system, development software, and ROS. AWS RoboMaker’s robotics simulation makes it easy to set up large-scale and parallel simulations with pre-built worlds, such as indoor rooms, retail stores, and racing tracks, so developers can test their applications on-demand and run multiple simulations in parallel,” explains a press statement about RoboMaker.

AWS now says it’s easier for its customers to build robots, as well as integrate intelligent functions and test new robotic functions thanks to the RoboMaker service. With NASA and JPL two of AWS’ more noteworthy customers that utilise robots to varying degrees, we could certainly see robots powered by RoboMaker landing on Mars in the near future.

“When talking to our customers, we see the same pattern repeated over and again. They spend a lot of time setting up infrastructure and cobbling together software for different stages of the robotics development cycle, repeating work others have done before, leaving less time for innovation, adds Roger Barga, GM of AWS RoboMaker.

AWS RoboMaker provides pre-built functionality to support robotics developers during their entire project, making it significantly easier to build robots, simulate performance in various environments, iterate faster, and drive greater innovation,” he concludes.

In terms of availability, AWS RoboMaker is currently accessible in parts of the US and Ireland, with the company noting that other regions across the globe will receive it sometime in 2019.

Hopefully South Africa will be added to that list when our local data centre and expanded AWS operation gets up and running in 2020.