As fleets of robots grow, Formant provides a leading cloud-based platform for managing robots in the field. The San Francisco-based company today announced that it is offering a free tier of its product to individual roboticists or early-stage companies.
Formant said the slimmed-down version of its enterprise-grade offering enables individual users to upload live data to the cloud and control their robots in real time. The decision to release a “freemium” product was based on the company's experience working with robotics startups over the past five years.
“Successful robotics companies rarely build everything themselves,” said Jeff Linnell, CEO of Formant. Instead, they tend to rely on off-the-shelf systems, he noted.
“We hope that companies using Formant can spend more time solving robotics and customer problems, instead of trying to build non-differentiating tools in-house,” Linnell added.
RaaS platform monitors ROS systems
Founded in 2017, Formant said robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) providers including Canvas Technology, Blue River Technologies, and Burro have chosen its data platform.
Initially released for systems using the Robot Operating System (ROS), Formant's free tier will let engineers easily monitor ROS topics and key metrics from their devices via SSH out of the box, said the company. A user can also send commands to a robot, or even enter into full teleoperation mode to remotely control the robot, all with minimal setup time, it claimed.
“Formant's free tier provides any roboticist a fast and reliable cloud-based data infrastructure and teleoperation feature for their ROS-powered robots,” said Linnell. “We’re excited to offer the power of Formant’s platform to teams or individuals of any size, stage, or budget.”
The Formant Free observability dashboard. Source: Formant
Formant free tier available today
Starting today, roboticists can sign up, copy one line of code, and immediately view real-time data or drive their robots—from anywhere in the world, said Formant, which raised Series A funding in January.
Formant's free tier is limited to a single user, but it has no restrictions on the number of robots or data bandwidth. If users do not have a robot available, they can try operating a simulated robot right from the Web app. To learn more, visit formant.io/go.
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