Robotics API: Object-Oriented Software Development for Industrial Robots

Andreas Angerer, Alwin Hoffmann, Andreas Schierl, Michael Vistein and Wolfgang Reif

Industrial robots are flexible machines that can be equipped with various sensors and tools to perform complex tasks. However, current robot programming languages are reaching their limits. They are not flexible and powerful enough to master the challenges posed by the intended future application areas. In the research project SoftRobot, a consortium of science and industry partners developed a software architecture that enables object-oriented software development for industrial robot systems using general-purpose programming languages. The requirements of current and future applications of industrial robots have been analysed and are reflected in the developed architecture. In this paper, an overview is given about this architecture as well as the goals that guided its development. A special focus is put on the design of the object-oriented Robotics API, which serves as a framework for developing complex robotic applications. It allows specifying real-time critical operations of robots and tools, including advanced concepts like sensor-based motions and multi-robot synchronization. The power and usefulness of the architecture is illustrated by several application examples. Its extensibility and reusability is evaluated and a comparison to other robotics frameworks is drawn.
published 07.06.2013 Journal of Software Engineering for Robotics
ISBN: 2035-3928