BRICS : Best Practice in Robotics

The BRICS project is a EU-FP7 large-scale integrating project addressing Challenge ICT-2007.2.2: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics. The project started March 1st 2009 and will end February 28th 2013.

Consortium

  • KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg, Germany (Rainer Bischoff)
  • GPS Gesellschaft für Produktionssysteme mbH, Stuttgart, Germany (Erwin Prassler)
  • Bonn-Rhein-Sieg Univ. of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, Germany (Gerhard K. Kraetzschmar)
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (Herman Bruyninckx)
  • Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany (Martin Hägele)
  • University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands (Stefano Stramigioli)
  • Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy (Davide Brugali)
  • BlueBotics SA, Lausanne, Switzerland (Nicola Tomatis)

Main objectives

The project pursues the development of a methodology that enables an easy configuration of robotics platforms from available hardware and software components for research and educational purposes as well as for new industrial applications. The project specifically focuses on mobile manipulation in service and industrial applications, however, the developed methodology will be transferable to other domains.

Main research activities

To achieve the above objectives BRICS follows a work plan with three major lines of research activities:

  • Identification, refactoring, harmonization, and benchmarking of best practice in robot algorithms, software components, and architectures;
  • Design of a robot software development environment (“tool chain”), including a software repository of best practise robotics algorithms, that supports rapid and flexible configuration of new robot platforms and the development of sophisticated robot applications;
  • Development of software engineering methods for achieving (i) robust autonomy, (ii) openness and flexibility, and (iii) harmonisation and benchmarking.

Activities at the University of Bergamo

The University of Bergamo is leader of work package 7 (WP7) of BRICS which is dedicated to software engineering methods for achieving system openness and flexibility.
The principal objective is to support other work packages' activities in order to promote openness and flexibility of BRICS software artefacts. Flexibility is the "ease with which a system or component can be modified for use in applications or environments other than those for which it was specifically de-signed". Flexibility is thus the system property that makes BRICS software artefacts reusable and sustainable after the end of the project.
Another major objective is to identify and formalise BRICS best practice in software development in terms of a structured collection of design patterns that will be documented in the openness handbook.
A third objective is to define metrics and evaluation criteria to assess flexibility of best practice software artefacts and project progress.

Our approach to support openness and flexibility builds on advanced software engineering techniques and methodologies, such as Domain Engineering, Distributed Component Frameworks, and Model-Driven Engineering. The figure below depicts the iterative process of software refactoring to enhance system openness and flexibility.