The proposed workshop is intended to create a forum where researchers, practitioners, and professionals can discuss on principles and practice in the use of advanced software development techniques for building robotic systems. The goal is ambitious, i.e. to bring together researchers from two different communities: Software Engineering and Robotics. The rationale is that Software engineering is today the Achilles heel of robotics, and it is reasonable to expect that in the near future major contributions in robotics will come from the software engineers.
The Robotics community is getting aware of the importance that software development principles have in building advanced robotics systems. Several interesting initiatives are taking place in the field of open source development, distributed middleware, standard architectures.What is still missing is a common language among researchers on this topic and a clear understanding of the state of the art of research in Software Engineering.
The nature of the workshop is quite concrete. It is not a tutorial on abstract Software Engineering methodologies. Instead, it focuses on a few mainstream topics, such as:
- How to design highly modular systems and applications
- How to make systems and applications interoperable
- How to develop software for reuse and with reuse
These topics will be discussed from both the Software Engineering and Robotics perspective. Nevertheless, the workshop does not present yet another software development process built on proprietary technologies or robotic projects. Instead, it shows how the state-of-the-art software development practice in robotics meet the principles of software engineering.
The development of robotic systems has always been a severe challenge due to the complex and heterogeneous technological issues involved. The process of bringing intelligence to a system requires strongly tighten capabilities of sensing, processing, and acting. In this scenario, software plays a key role as it is the medium to embody intelligence in the machine. The fast evolution of computing, sensor, and actuator hardware has severely exacerbated the problem of developing effective and efficient robotic software systems.
Consolidated software engineering techniques have proved their effectiveness in a variety of application domains and could be adopted to build robotics systems more effective. On the other hand, robotics software development is a valuable benchmark to assess the power and discover the limits of advanced software engineering techniques when used to design, implement, and test applications that control physical equipments interacting with the real world.
The synergy between Robotics and Software Engineering is strategic. Their mutual benefit isn t merely to make software systems bigger, faster, cheaper, but rather to make it possible to build and evolve new software systems. A number of new application areas are emerging from the robotic field, which strongly build on computer engineering technologies: Distributed Robotics, Internet Robotics, Rescue Robotics, Educational Robotics, Human-Robot Interaction.
The aim of this workshop is two-fold:
(1) To point to the strategic role of advanced software development techniques as the basis of new robotic systems.
(2) To identify strategic directions for the Software Engineering research in order to meet the requirements of real world robotic systems.
The tangible results of the workshop will be a practical program of research, standardization, and public relations focused on the way that software development techniques are actually practiced in Robotics and the strategic directions to pursue the synergy between Robotics and Software Engineering.
Davide Brugali, PhD, Assistant Professor (Chair and point of contact)
Dip. Ingegneria Gestionale e dell Informazione
UniversitÓ degli Studi di Bergamo
Monica Reggiani, PhD, Research Associate (Co-organizer)
Dip. di Ingegneria dell'Informazione,
Universita' degli Studi di Parma,