Robotic Software Systems: From Code-Driven to Model-Driven Software Development [chapter]

Christian Schlegel, Andreas Steck, Alex Lotz
2012 Robotic Systems - Applications, Control and Programming  
Introduction Advances in robotics and cognitive sciences have stimulated expectations for emergence of new generations of robotic devices that interact and cooperate with people in ordinary human environments (robot companion, elder care, home health care), that seamlessly integrate themselves into complex environments (domestic, outdoor, public spaces), that fit into different levels of system hierarchies (human-robot co-working, hyper-flexible production cells, cognitive factory), that can
more » ... ctory), that can fulfill different tasks (multi-purpose systems) and that are able to adapt themselves to different situations and changing conditions (dynamic environments, varying availability and accessibility of internal and external resources, coordination and collaboration with other agents). Unfortunately, so far, steady improvements in specific robot abilities and robot hardware have not been matched by corresponding robot performance in real-world environments. On the one hand, simple robotic devices for tasks such as cleaning floors and cutting the grass have met with growing commercial success. Robustness and single purpose design is the key quality factor of these simple systems. At the same time, more sophisticated robotic devices such as Care-O-Bot 3 (Reiser et al., 2009) and PR2 (Willow Garage, 2011) have not yet met commercial success. Hardware and software complexity is their distinguishing factor. Advanced robotic systems are systems of systems and their complexity is tremendous. Complex means they are built by integrating an increasingly larger body of heterogeneous (robotics, cognitive, computational, algorithmic) resources. The need for these resources arises from the overwhelming number of different situations an advanced robot is faced with during execution of multitude tasks. Despite the expended effort, even sophisticated systems are still not able to perform at an expected and appropriate level of overall quality of service in complex scenarios in real-world environments. By quality of service we mean the set of system level non-functional properties that a robotic system should exhibit to appropriately operate in an open-ended environment, such as robustness to exceptional situations, performance despite of limited resources and aliveness for long periods of time. Since vital functions of advanced robotic systems are provided by software and software dominance is still growing, the above challenges of system complexity are closely related to the need of mastering software complexity. Mastering software complexity becomes pivotal towards exploiting the capabilities of advanced robotic components and algorithms. Tailoring modern approaches of software engineering to the needs of robotics is seen as decisive towards significant progress in system integration for advanced robotic systems. 23 www.intechopen.com
doi:10.5772/25896 fatcat:7fwavvcrg5hcva7tp7n7ifshru