Felix Ingrand, Ph.D.
Laboratoire d'Analyse et d'Architecture des Systemes
Service Robotics: Towards a more
robust and dependable software architecture
Wednesday – September 19, 2007
Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.
With an aging population, most western countries are faced with an economical challenge of caring for their elders while the proximity services attended by human remain costly. Service robots, among others, are a possible solution to help elderly people in their everyday life and activities. Moreover, there are other domains where services can be performed by robots (museum guide, mall shopping assistant, street guide, airport assistant, etc)
A large number of projects are now being funded by various national and international agencies to develop, design and program service robots. I will quickly present and illustrate the various LAAS projects dealing with service robotics (Space City, COGNIRON, URUS, ...) as well as the platforms that we use and program (Rackham, Dala, HRP2, ...) .
Yet, for these robots to perform appropriately, they need to be robust to environment changes and be endowed with some autonomy, to make appropriate decisions when faced with unexpected situations (e.g. plan failures, human changes of intention, etc), while being safe and reliable. Thus a critical aspect of these service robots is clearly related to software architecture and tools. How does one offer such an autonomy, while guaranteeing that the robot remains "dependable". We will show how the LAAS architecture which started as a very powerful software management tool is now used to provide a high level of autonomy, while proposing various means to guarantee that the robot remains "logically" safe for the humans around it.