Case Study

How SoftBank Engineers Learn Complex ROS Subjects Fast

 

Details

Company Name: SoftBank Group Corp.
Date: Nov 2018
Website: https://group.softbank/en

SoftBank Group Corp. (ソフトバンクグループ株式会社) is a strategic holding company that invests in AI and other transformative technologies for the betterment of humanity.

Why We Train Our Employees on The Construct

The AI Robot Development section is a professional roboticists team of the SoftBank Corp. With the development of research, they needs more advanced robotics knowledge. They searched related resources by reading books, viewing official tutorials, etc., but found that the relevant content was unavailable and the application was extremely complicated.

 

Instant Results

In 2018, they found the RobotIgniteAcademy, bring advanced ROS knowledge to quickly upskill their team online, and push their robot development project to a higher stage.

“Learning ROS with traditional methods takes a lot of time and is complicated. But The Construct already provides all that ready to start learning ROS and has many interesting ROS courses that aren’t found on the internet!”

TOMOHIKO FURUTANI

Manager of the AI Robot Dev. Team, SoftBank

Objective

Make extensive usage of Robot Operating System (ROS) in their robots

Challenge

They need to upskill with more specific ROS subjects, but they cannot find on the internet.

Interview

 

SoftBank Corp. is a Japanese telecom operator, a core company of SoftBank group.

We talk to Tadashi Imokawa, an engineer at SoftBank Corp. in charge of the hardware and software development of the company’s robots, Tomohiko Furutani Manager, AI Robot development section, CS office about their necessity of learning ROS for robotics, and how they and their team are learning difficult ROS subjects.

Q: Is it both of you that are learning ROS?
Imokawa: Well, we already know ROS, I mean, we know how to do subscribers, create nodes, call action servers… However, sometimes we need to know how a very specific part of ROS works, like for example, how to use a manipulator. In that case, we need to use Robot Ignite Academy to learn those subjects.

Q: Why are you learning ROS?
Furutani: We want to make extensive usage of ROS in our robots.

Q: Which ROS methods have you tried?
Imokawa: We used general ROS books. Also, the official ROS wiki page provided by ros.org and we dedicated a lot of time to read the code on the gits of different developers. Learning that way is the traditional way, and it is sometimes very complicated.

Furutani: We also used some subscription services like PackT which provide a lot of books about the subject.

Q: Why do you think those learning methods are complicated?
Imokawa: Because in order to do tests of what we learn, we need to set up a full development environment. That takes time and is complicated. Furthermore, sometimes, it doesn’t work correctly (what you are supposed to obtain and what you actually obtain). It takes a lot of time

Furutani: Yes the testing environment itself takes time, and that sometimes can be very frustrating.

Q: Why did you choose to learn with Robot Ignite Academy?
Imokawa: Well, your academy has some basic and intermediate courses about subjects that we already master. But for more complicated subjects we cannot find much information on the internet, but you have interesting courses teaching those subjects.

Furutani: Also you provide an already working environment for those complicated subjects. When you want to test a complicated ROS subject, you need to have a lot of preparation (complex simulations running, complex code and instructions). Robot Ignite Academy already provides all that ready-to-start learning.

Q: Which ROS subjects are you interested in?
Imokawa: We are specially interested in ROS Navigation and ROS Manipulation, mainly indoor navigation.

Q: Which computer type (O.S.) are you using to learn ROS?
Furutani: We use Linux Ubuntu machines for programming. But due to security issues, for the learning, we are using Windows computers.

Q: Have you applied what you learned to real robots? Which ones?
Furutani: Not yet. We are still in the process of learning and identifying where to apply it. We are expecting some results in the close future

 

And for all of you reading this case study, consider the amount of time you will save if you use the Robot Ignite Academy to train your engineers on ROS based robotics. We have courses for learning the basics of ROS, but we also have more advanced courses that teach how to apply it to self-driving cars, drones, deep learning with robots, Reinforcement Learning applied to ROS robots, industrial robots and many more. Just check our current list of courses on this page and give it a free try.

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