The world's robots are to get their own Internet which will allow them to learn from each other.
The project, dubbed RoboEarth, is to be tested by scientists at Eindhoven University in a mocked-up hospital room.
It is the result of four years of work funded by the European Union. The ultimate aim is that both humans and machines will be able to upload information to a cloud-based database which will serve as a "common brain" for all robots. The test will see four robots using the system to complete a series of tasks including serving drinks to patients.
Research scientists from Philips and five European universities, including Eindhoven, have worked on the development of the system.
"At its core RoboEarth is a World Wide Web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other," Project leader Rene van de Molengraft said.
The four robots used in the test will work collaboratively to accomplish tasks, with one robot uploading maps of the room to help the other navigate it and serve patients drinks.
"The problem right now is that robots are often developed specifically for one task," Molengraft added. "Everyday changes that happen all the time in our environment make all the programmed actions unusable. A task like opening a box of pills can be shared on RoboEarth, so other robots can also do it without having to be programmed for that specific type of box."
The use of a cloud-based system will mean a portion of a robot's computing tasks could be offloaded and allow the machine to operate with less on-board hardware or battery-life.
Robot assistants in the home are thought to be a possibility within 10 years, experts suggest. Robots capable of vacuuming, washing windows and cutting grass are already available, and scientists are now working on more humanoid robots that will be able to help disabled or elderly people.
Artificial Intelligence thinkers have warned that should a robot learn how to evolve or upgrade its own software a common brain would allow this to be shared with machines the world over and could lead to concerning scenarios reminiscent of science fiction like I, Robot.