Four Practices to Control Robot Design Architectures

The platforms of robot controllers development and their underlying methodologies are of great importance for IT and laboratories society, because there is an increasing interest in future service robotics. Such platforms help developers in many of their activities such as modeling, programming, model analysis, test and simulation and should take into account preoccupations like the reuse of software pieces and the modularity of control architectures as they correspond to two major issues.

The aim of this platform development is to provide a robot controller development methodology and its dedicated tools, in order to help developers overcoming problems during all steps of the design process. So, we investigate on the creation of a software paradigm that deals specifically with controller development preoccupations. We identified four main different practices in control architecture design approaches that must be considered.

Firstly, is the structuring of the control activities. There are different approaches, contains decomposing the control architecture into hierarchical layers. Each layer within the robot controller has a ‘decision making system”, as each layer only ensures part of the control from low level control to planning.

Secondly, id the decomposition of the control architecture into subsystem that incorporate the specific parts control of a robotic system. This practice is reified in IDEA agents architecture and Chimera development methodology. This organizational view is orthogonal to the hierarchical one: each subsystem can incorporate both reactive and long term decision making activities and so can be layered itself.

Thirdly, is to separate, in architecture description, the robot operative portion description from the control and decision making one. This practice is often adopted at implementation phase, except in specific architectures like CLARATY, which in the real world description is made by means of objects hierarchies.

Fourth, is to use notations to describe the controller’s parts and to formalize their interactions. Model based specifications are coupled with techniques of formal analysis in order to follow a quality oriented of design process.

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