The Standardization of Framework Software Robotic

Particular aspects of robotics systems have been studied for about three decades: perception, locomotion, environment modeling, trajectory planning, reasoning and all AI aspects. The state of the art contains a really huge amount of contribution on those domains and some real robots are appearing progressively and making their way toward to general public. However, such systems remain most of the time prototypes of laboratory. If the feasibility of certain tasks is proven, it is still very difficult to share between labs or reuse the developments of software that have been done on those robots.

The reason for that is certainly the standard lack specification for robotic software developments. Indeed, robots are still very far from the standardization of traditional computer science engineering, workstation of PCs, that has undoubtedly permitted their development; although the same program would not run as is on different architectures, or format files change in almost every new application, POSIX or UNIX have done much regarding the API and portability and behavior of a large amount of kernels is known well and defined well.

Hence, an issue for robotic research is not only to develop particular functionalities, but also to define and conceive a generic robot, e.g. a robot that not only has a standard kernel, but also defined well model of components that will implement functionalities. This will not only permit the complex conception robots, but also to reuse, share and capitalize existing and known well functionalities.

Some robotic companies have proposed software frameworks to tackle this problem. Notable contributions are Adept and ABB, iRobot and their Mobility framework or Activ Media and Saphira. However these frameworks are not much opened for instance the code is often proprietary nor extensible, in the sense that they were made for the few robots sold by these companies. These frameworks can still let developers conceive very complex autonomous machines, but they would be fixed usually and pre defined in term of missions and sensors.

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