Google Launches ‘Code as Policies’: AI Coding Tool Will Help Train Robots

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Google Launches ‘Code as Policies’: AI Coding Tool For Robots

Google has released an exciting tool that could significantly reduce the time and effort required to program or train robots. Called "Code as Policies", the new tool is now available on GitHub under an open-source license. Code as Policies or CaP understands natural languages and could help even novices in developing programming and coding skills. The CaP tool can generate code that enables a robot to perform tasks. Does this sound familiar to Microsoft's GitHub Copilot?

 

Google's CaP Understands Natural Language For Coding

Robots and Robotics are two of the most rapidly growing industrial segments. While robots are being adopted, they need programming for every task. Before any industry can deploy robots, these expensive automation tools need to be customized for their tasks.

Simply put, every robot needs a custom code that has to be programmed by a coder. The code might not be complex. It could be as simple as instructing a robotic arm to pick up an object from a conveyor belt and drop it in a crate. However, this code needs to be programmed.

Every time a function or task is modified, the code needs to be reprogrammed. Moreover, adapting software written for one robot to run on other machines too requires human efforts. Ironically, such automated tasks can't be automated. This is where Google CaP comes into the picture.

Google claims its CaP tool can save time by helping programmers quickly generate robot configuration code. CaP relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand what a programmer is typing, and offers blocks of code to speed up the programming task.

If this sounds familiar, it is because of Microsoft's GitHub Copilot, which launched earlier this year. The tool has been rapidly gaining popularity. It offers suggestions to build blocks of code. Programmers working on software can accept the "autocomplete" suggestions from GitHub Copilot to quickly write large blocks of code.

 

Is Google's CaP Different From Microsoft's GitHub Copilot?

Microsoft's GitHub Copilot and Google's CaP have a lot in common. Google's CaP writes code in the Python programming language, while Microsoft's tool understands Python and Javascript.

Microsoft owns GitHub and launched its tool on the open-source software repository. Google too has launched the Code as Policies on GitHub. Both platforms can rely on software libraries or pre-packaged collections of code that automate common tasks and are available on the platform under an open-source license.

It is important to note that Microsoft controls GPT-3. It's a natural language programming and writing tool. Microsoft acquired the tool from the original creators. Google's CaP too seems to be doing the same, but for robotics programming.

Although the GitHub Copilot has been trained to understand natural language programming, Microsoft has been hesitant to release it to the public. Google's CaP too can understand simple instructional sentences and build code. In fact, researchers used CaP to teach a robot how to change the location of toy blocks on a table by merely feeding, "arrange the blocks in a square around the middle," into the CaP tool.

Simply put, both platforms have been trained to understand natural language programming but are intended for different purposes. It will be interesting to see how these platforms evolve.

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