Date posted: 6/23/22, 10:26 AM

Firmware is the core of the hardware operations of a robot. The firmware enables effective transmission between microprocessors and various device components. This helps manage communication protocols, convert sensor signals, or manage interactions between hardware and software. Firmware updates help keep your robotic hardware functional and relevant for a longer duration. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-based applications in robotics, the size and complexity of the microcontroller firmware at IoT endpoints are also increasing.

In the past, the importance of delivering effective software and firmware updates to IoT devices was undervalued. But as IoT devices and robots proliferate to different industries and multiple environments, firmware updates have become essential, mainly to add to the device functionality and ensure security. Today, with the help of cloud connectivity and over-the-air firmware updates, it is possible to add new features, eliminate bugs, and improve reliability without disrupting a robot's basic function.

Read on to find out the importance of prioritizing your robot’s firmware updates and some examples.

Importance of Updating Robotic Firmware

As technology evolves, robots are becoming capable of accomplishing more complex tasks. That being said, they are bound to be rigged with better-performing equipment and well-defined software. In order to keep up with these updates and all the elements to run in synchronization, firmware updates are essential.

Here are the six key reasons you should not ignore a firmware update.

1. To make alterations and rectify bugs in the code

Software or firmware-related bugs can produce unexpected results or make the device behave in unintended ways. Developers can identify recurring errors and faults in the functioning of a robot and address them in the next firmware update. This minimizes the chances of error and enables a better user experience. Frequent firmware updates can also prevent these bugs from worsening and affecting the system adversely.

2. To add or enhance features

While programming the robot to conduct even complex tasks, the existing firmware may not always remain compatible. Firmware is what exactly helps a device’s components interact with each other. Hence, it is essential to consider updating while expanding or enhancing the robot's functions to run operations seamlessly. For example, an automated airborne surveillance robot can be taught to identify and distinguish more complex objects like footprints, shadows, or weapons with a new update.

3. To make improved adjustments in system security

IoT-based devices and robots are vulnerable to hacking as there is always a possibility of hackers embedding malware in the firmware. Developers can establish reliable security measures in place by releasing new firmware updates and patched-up exploitable entry points. This helps Barr malicious users looking for a way to gain entry to IoT devices.

4. To increase the firmware’s efficiency

The firmware program is responsible for translating and executing all essential commands required for a robot to carry out operations. A firmware update can help the robot’s components communicate faster, help sensors perform optimally, or cameras produce better visuals. With every update, users can aim for a higher level of accuracy and a lower margin for error in the robot’s functioning.

5. Compatibility with new components

The old firmware may not be appropriate to run in alignment with new hardware installations. A firmware update becomes necessary whenever you are looking to equip your robot with new and improved components. For instance, if an automated robot gets an infrared sensor to gain the ability to navigate at night as a new feature. In this context, the firmware should give the robot the ability to correspond with the whole navigational and feedback control system.

6. Saving on cost

Regular firmware updates make robots and IoT devices less prone to external attackers, reducing their chances of causing any trouble. Timely updates also reduce the chances of expensive bug fixes and hold the system together for optimum performance. A well-defined firmware lessens the odds of a robot causing mishaps at the workplace, saving additional downtime and recovery costs.

 

Firmware Updates are Now Easy

With the proliferation of automatic robots and IoT devices, firmware updates have also become more convenient. New developments have helped us deal with manual updating and bandwidth problems. Now you can enjoy safer, more efficient operations with every update, over-the-air, and without much hassle.

While you take your robot designs to a new level, we at Hokuyo devise high-performance sensors to keep up with the evolving needs. Check out our wide range of sensor products, or contact us if you wish to learn more about how our products can help build your next robotic application.