New research will improve the quality of industrial robots

In a new EU funded project, researchers from the IT University of Copenhagen and European partners will work to improve quality assurance in a platform for industrial robot programming.

Computer ScienceResearchrobotsAndrzej WasowskiClaus BrabrandYvonne Dittrichgrants

The new research project ROSIN will help to place Europe at the forefront of innovation within industrial robotics. The four-year project is funded by an EU grant of 7.5 million Euro, out of which 700.000 Euro goes to the ITU.

ITU's role in the project is to develop methods for automated quality assurance of software in ROS, an open-source platform that makes building robots fast and simple. The platform has around one million users worldwide, who primarily use it for developing prototypes. Gradually, established companies are becoming aware of its potential as well. However, problems with quality assurance are currently standing in the way of a wider application of ROS.

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The industry is showing great interest in building production lines where robots and humans work together, but in order for this to work, the robot software must be of an extremely high quality, so that the robots are safe for humans to work with.

Professor Andrzej Wasowski
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"The industry is showing great interest in building production lines where robots and humans work together, but in order for this to work, the robot software must be of an extremely high quality, so that the robots are safe for humans to work with. Our project is about getting ROS to that level of quality", says Professor Andrzej Wasowski from ITU, who is working on the project alongside colleagues Yvonne Dittrich and Claus Brabrand.

Tools should be useful for developers
Over the next four years, the ITU researchers will develop automated techniques for detecting vulnerabilities in the code and test them in cooperation with the developer community. Since ROS is an open source platform, the project is also focused on engaging independent programmers to make them adapt the tools developed in the project.

"Developing tools for quality assurance is one thing, making them useful for the developer community is another. ROS is not controlled by a central organization, which means that you cannot enforce methods but have to convince the developer community to use certain methods," says Andrzej Wasowski.

In order to ensure that the tools are usable in practice, the researchers will conduct ethnographic studies and hold workshops for the ROSIN community. Later this year, a robot programming workshop will be held at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Funding for independent projects
Half of the project budget is earmarked for independent projects that can help to increase the software quality in ROS. Companies and independent developers who are interested in contributing can apply via rosin-project.eu.

Further information

Andrzej Wąsowski, Professor, email wasowski@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk