Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Cloud-based robotics systems leverage a wide range of Information Technologies (IT) to offer tangible benefits like cost reduction, powerful computational capabilities, data offloading, etc. However, the centralized nature of cloud computing is not well-suited for a multitude of Operational Technologies (OT) nowadays used in robotics systems that require strict real-time guarantees and security. Edge computing and fog computing are complementary approaches that aim at mitigating some of these challenges by providing computing capabilities closer to the users. The goal of this work is hence threefold: i) to analyze the current edge computing and fog computing landscape in the context of robotics systems, ii) to experimentally evaluate an end-to-end robotics system based on solutions proposed in the literature, and iii) to experimentally identify current benefits and open challenges of edge computing and fog computing. Results show that, in the case of an exemplary delivery application comprising two mobile robots, the robot coordination and range can be improved by consuming real-time radio information available at the edge. However, our evaluation highlights that the existing software, wireless and virtualization technologies still require substantial evolution to fully support edge-based robotics systems.