Addverb Technologies (Addverb), a global robotics company based out of India, has been scaling up its production and deployment operations as it expands its business globally, requiring it to find a technical framework to help it rapidly develop, test, and deploy its robotics software solutions. To expand solution delivery and manage software updates more efficiently, the company wanted to streamline its development and deployment processes without compromising on security and turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for solutions.
To simulate robot behavior in the cloud and facilitate timely updates to its robots, Addverb adopted AWS RoboMaker, a cloud-based simulation service that lets robotics developers run, scale, and automate simulation without managing any infrastructure. Addverb also had a goal to deliver its robots remotely using containers as a service, so for smooth operation alongside its existing container environment, the company chose AWS IoT Greengrass, an Internet of Things (IoT) open-source edge runtime and cloud service for building, deploying, and managing device software. Using these solutions alongside AWS services for serverless computing, automation, and connectivity, Addverb implemented a cloud-driven solution that delivers on security and shortens the development cycle from 3–6 months to 2–3 months, accelerating robotic solution delivery.
Using AWS RoboMaker supported our development process. We were able to add all our test cases as test templates using AWS RoboMaker.”
Kathi Raja Ravindra
Cloud DevOps, Addverb Technologies
Migrating to a Flexible, Cloud-Native Solution
Founded in 2016, Addverb is a global robotics and automation company with a presence in India, the United States, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Australia. The company develops and delivers industrial robot technology and applications as well as other automated warehousing systems. Its solutions help customers manage material flows to improve throughputs, storage optimization, productivity, and inventory management and reduce operational costs. Using its four-dimensional approach—discover, design, deploy, and dedicated support—Addverb has provided complete automation solutions to hundreds of customers such as Reliance Industries Limited, Hindustan Unilever Limited, PepsiCo, the Coca-Cola Company, Flipkart, Johnson & Johnson, and ITC Limited.
Addverb is equipped with a wide product portfolio of fixed and flexible automation systems, which helps it to provide different and customizable solutions to customers. Addverb previously used several open-source tools to manage its robotics software. As its business grew, however, the company wanted to unify the overall solution by connecting the different development environments. This would help developers focus on coding and improve testing lead time. “We wanted to change our development paradigm and our deployment process to make the overall system smoother,” says Kathi Raja Ravindra, cloud DevOps at Addverb. Alongside these goals, Addverb aimed to reduce the need for resource-intensive on-premises testing, maintenance, and update deployment for its fleet.
The company considered several cloud providers and services but ultimately chose AWS RoboMaker and AWS IoT Greengrass because it wanted to migrate its processes to a cloud-native solution without changing its underlying solutions architecture. This approach would help the company future-proof its solution, giving it the flexibility and agility to change its cloud layer as needed in response to new AWS technologies.
In March 2021, using support from AWS, Addverb began developing a proof of concept for its new mobile robotics software infrastructure with the goal to use cloud-based simulation to accelerate and manage robotics development. Addverb developed the solution during a 6-month engagement that involved working with AWS business development and solutions architects to set up the continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline that facilitates cloud simulation. “Our goal was to simulate our robots’ behavior over the cloud,” says Ravindra. “Based on the results, we work to send updates to the robots.”
Automating Simulations and Increasing Delivery and Support Speed
Employing AWS RoboMaker, a fully managed simulation service, made automating simulations simple and manageable because the team was able to use the service alongside its own open-source simulation environment. “Using AWS RoboMaker supported our development process,” says Ravindra. “We were able to add all our test cases as test templates using AWS RoboMaker, which really helped us.”
As a result, the team can now test its entire operation use case in a virtual environment. Previously Addverb performed onsite testing using several test cases. “Now we have a cloud-based simulation that has test cases that summarize all the behavior, navigation, and localization parts of the software,” says Ravindra. Using its solution on AWS, Addverb has reduced developer testing time. The team now runs the cloud-based tests in 10–15 minutes, whereas previously it took 3–4 hours per day to run tests in a physical environment. Using cloud-based simulations, Addverb has reduced the need for onsite testing, which helps optimize its use of resources.
Using AWS IoT Core, which lets customers connect billions of IoT devices and route trillions of messages to AWS services without managing infrastructure, Addverb recognized each of its robots as an IoT device. The company enlisted AWS IoT Greengrass to deliver updates to its robots remotely using containers as a service as well as to facilitate effective operations postupdate with respect to factors such as monitoring, availability, persistence, and software rollbacks. Now team members can deliver support to customers with greater ease and speed. “Performing maintenance and updates used to involve a person going onsite, sometimes in another location or even another country, and then manually plugging in the robot,” says Vipin Raj, product manager at Addverb. “Now it is cloud controlled, so it’s a single deployment that takes around 10 minutes to complete.”
After applying features of AWS RoboMaker and the broader AWS framework, the Addverb team has shortened its development cycle and now enjoys simpler day-to-day operations that help it focus on robotics innovation. The solution fulfills the company’s critical needs for speed, scale, and accuracy in robotics development and decreases costs by saving resources previously allocated for debugging and manual operations.
Expanding Service Infrastructure on AWS
Next, Addverb is planning to migrate its internally developed fleet management system to the cloud as well as develop its warehouse control and warehouse management systems under a software-as-a-service model. It’s also working alongside AWS on its data analytics model and exploring ways to save time in cloud monitoring. The company’s biggest planned innovation is a move to delivering robots as a service—a goal made possible by the foundational software infrastructure changes it has already completed on AWS.