Alphabet’s Intrinsic announces first product + partner
Industrial robots are incredible productivity tools that remain out of reach for millions of people and businesses who could benefit from them. Unlike computers, smartphones, and other types of hardware that enhance productivity for people everywhere, robots are a relatively niche and exclusive type of tool. Whether it’s a robotics solution for tending a 3D printer, sanding a surface, assembling new parts, or placing items into a package — different industries typically rely on complex and rigid robotic systems that require deep domain expertise and specialized skill sets to program. Reprogramming these systems rarely makes sense economically or operationally.
As a first step to help speed up better access to industrial robotics for vastly more developers, today we’re introducing Intrinsic Flowstate — an intuitive, web-based developer environment to build robotic applications from concept to deployment. Currently in beta, Flowstate initially will be available to a small cohort of solution builders. Learn more and apply here.
During our virtual product keynote, we shared a first look at Flowstate and announced leading robot manufacturer and global systems integrator Comau as our first industry partner. If you weren’t able to join us, you can find the recording of the session here.
Our keynote also introduced the underlying Intrinsic platform on which Flowstate is built. As we build this intelligent robotics platform, our design principles inform our priorities — now, and in the years to come. We’re working to make advanced robotics and AI simple to use, including for non-experts. We’re building with future roboticists and developers in mind too, bringing modern software development practices such as object-oriented and visual programming to the robotics and automation industry.
By also prioritizing interoperability — that is, making it easier for developers to work more seamlessly across different types of hardware and software — we can accelerate the creation of all kinds of new solutions involving industrial robotics. Our investments in best-in-class infrastructure will further simplify the process of building solutions and deploying them to hardware in the real world.
Introducing Flowstate as our first developer product on the Intrinsic platform:
The ability to get started without deep expertise: Intrinsic Flowstate includes a graphical process builder that removes the need for extensive programming experience, giving developers tools to get started quickly — and keep going. We use behavior trees, which make it easy to orchestrate complex process flows, supporting faster application building. In our process editor, we offer a flowchart-inspired graphical representation to author the behavior trees.
Rapid iteration: Building end-to-end robotic solutions is an iterative process. By giving developers ways to layout their workcell and design a process in the same virtual environment, it will be possible to iterate rapidly without needing to switch between other tools. Developers can design and build within a single experience, whether they’re working in the cloud or on-premise, and transition easily between them.
Unlocking the power of simulation: Users will be able to simulate and validate solutions without touching a single piece of hardware. Real-time visualization of the process makes the whole experience more intuitive and efficient.
Reusable and scalable skills: The ability to encode domain knowledge in custom “skills” that can be used and reused, will make the process of solution building quicker and more scalable. Skills like pose estimation, manipulation, force-based insertion, path planning and many others won’t need to be hardcoded time and time again. Several useful skills and capabilities will come with Flowstate, powered by the Intrinsic platform. In the future, the volume and type of skills available will be determined by the community of developers. The permutations and potential for custom skills are endless.
Introducing our first industry partner:
Over the past several years, we have worked with Comau to validate our approach through real world use cases. Using Flowstate and our underlying platform, Comau has recently created a modular solution to enable the assembly of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) supermodule. This is just one example of the possibilities we can envision for solution builders and the types of solutions that could soon become possible to build and affordable to buy.
Flowstate is our first step in that direction. We would like to help the robotics experts of today and tomorrow begin reimagining their day to day with robotic solutions powered by software and AI. We are now welcoming applications for our first ever beta program, which will run for roughly eight weeks beginning in July 2023.
And if you’ll be attending Automatica in Munich in June, please visit us at Booth 301 in Hall B4, where we’ll be sharing more about our platform, Flowstate, and partners. If you haven’t yet registered, you can secure a free day pass to Automatica as our guest here using “intrinsicauto23” as your voucher code. We hope to see you there!