Our pick of the most interesting software tools for robots

See what software platforms we’ve listed as the coolest and the most promising ones that come in handy in robotics.

July 21, 2023


Aleksandra Szczepaniak

The Formant robot management platform
source: https://formant.io

In the dynamic world of robotics, groundbreaking software tools are reshaping the way we create, oversee, and maximize the potential of robots. In this blog post, we’re excited to share our pick of the most interesting and promising software tools that can greatly elevate your robotics projects. From cloud-based platforms for efficient fleet management to advanced navigation frameworks and game engines, you’re surely bound to find something for your needs.

Cloud-based platforms for managing robots

First up, we’re going to cover a couple of the coolest cloud-based platforms with which monitoring and controlling robot fleets is incredibly easy and efficient. These platforms leverage the capabilities of cloud computing and remote connectivity to deliver real-time insights, control, as well as coordination of multiple robots. Without further ado, let’s get right into it ;).

Nimbus by Cogniteam

The Nimbus software platform

The first neat software tool on our list is Nimbus developed by Cogniteam. This cloud-based platform provides essential tools for developing, evaluating, and managing your robot fleets remotely, while ensuring real-time operations.

Nimbus comes with a library of proven algorithms thanks to which your robots can autonomously map, navigate and make decisions. The tool can be hosted locally, plus, it’s fully compatible with the open source Robot Operating System (ROS), making it a plug-and-play solution.

Nimbus is based on block coding, meaning it uses drag-and-drop tools, which makes it a great fit even for beginners. Plus, the range of possibilities behind this platform allows you to add extra equipment to your vehicle, such as LiDARs among many other things. With Nimbus, it’s easy to transfer your code from one robot to another.

Here are the key features of the Nimbus platform:

  • low code drag-and-drop development,
  • rich set of ready-made AI algorithms,
  • robot fleet management and monitoring,
  • remote access,
  • performance analytics,
  • fault diagnostics,
  • full ROS1/2 support.


The Formant robot management platform
source: https://formant.io

Another interesting software tool handy in robotics is Formant. It’s a cloud-based platform designed to help companies easily deploy, expand, and monitor their robot fleets, as well as receive alerts and perform root cause analysis if any issues arise. With Formant, you can leverage cloud infrastructure to enhance your robotic automation capabilities.

The major features and functionalities of Formant include the following:

  • Robot fleet management,
  • Remote monitoring and operations,
  • Data visualization and analysis,
  • Task scheduling and automation,
  • Automated alerts and notifications,
  • Integration and API access.

Overall, Formant helps businesses optimize their robotic operations, improve efficiency, and reduce downtime through remote management and data-driven insights.

There's more!

These two are not the only interesting cloud-based platforms for monitoring and managing robots and robot fleets out there. Here’s a couple of other honorable mentions:

Other cool software platforms for robots

Let’s leave cloud-based tools for managing robot fleets behind us and dive into some other types of software platforms handy in robotics.


Turtlebot 3 navigating through Nav2
Turtlebot 3 navigating through Nav2
source: https://navigation.ros.org

Another nifty software tool for robotics is Nav2. It’s a ROS 2 navigation framework supported successor to the ROS Navigation Stack, aimed at achieving safe and efficient navigation for mobile robots across various environments and robot kinematics. It goes beyond simple point-to-point movement, enabling intermediate poses and supporting diverse tasks such as object tracking. This reliable and robust navigation framework has gained the trust of over 50 companies globally, delivering production-ready quality and performance.

Nav2 offers a wide range of capabilities, including perception, planning, control, localization, visualization, and many others, to facilitate the development of highly reliable autonomous systems. It encompasses tasks such as environmental modeling using sensor data, dynamic path planning, motor velocity computation, obstacle avoidance, semantic region and object representation, and structure higher-level robot behaviors.

Here are some of the main features of Nav2:

  • Modular architecture, 
  • Path planning,
  • Obstacle avoidance,
  • Localization,
  • Mapping, 
  • Behavior planning,
  • Goal monitoring,
  • Integration with ROS2.

O3DE by Open 3D Foundation

source: https://o3de.org

Open 3D Engine, or O3DE in short, is another interesting software tool on our list. It’s a free, open-source, multi-platform 3D game engine developed by Open 3D Foundation.

O3DE empowers developers and content creators to construct AAA games, visually stunning 3D environments, and realistic simulations, all without the burden of fees or commercial obligations.

Designed to prioritize state-of-the-art real-time graphics and intricate interactions, O3DE uplifts you to craft immersive and dynamic experiences with the following features:

  • Multi-threaded and adaptable photorealistic renderer,
  • Extensible and user-friendly 3D content editor for seamless creation,
  • Data-driven system for character animation,
  • Real-time physics engine,
  • High-performance networking layer,
  • Access to O3DE’s expanding open-source community.

Ok, but how can this be of use in robotics, you may ask? Well, a Polish software company, Robotec.ai, joined forces with Open 3D Foundation and developed two Gems – plug-ins that allow users to customize and expand the engine's capabilities to support their unique applications, such as games, simulations and many others – that extend the functionalities of the engine O3DE for robotics simulation. You can read more about it here.

Steam Deck by Valve Corporation

And last but not least – Steam Deck. I know, I know – it’s not a software tool but still great for robot applications. It’s a portable gaming device introduced by Valve Corporation, the company renowned for the popular gaming platform Steam. This handheld gadget aims to offer you a new gaming encounter as it lets you dive right into your Steam-based gaming library without having to bother with a regular old PC. 

Did I mention the Steam Deck can also serve as a robot controller? Because it can ;). It surely makes operating a robot much more convenient.

A Leo Rover controlled by a Steam Deck
A Leo Rover controlled through a Steam Deck

Head over to this tutorial of ours to learn how to use Steam Deck with your Leo Rover.

Unlock your robot’s potential

From cloud-based platforms for easy fleet management, through tools for reliable navigation and stunning simulations, to robot control devices, there's something for everyone.

Why don’t you explore some of these tools yourself and unleash their potential to up your robotics game? And while you’re at it, check out this blog post on different Arduino boards to know which one your robot calls for so that you make the best of it.

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