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An Architecture for Decentralized, Collaborative, and Autonomous Robots

Conference paper
Authors Sergio Garcia
Claudio Menghi
Patrizio Pelliccione
Thorsten Berger
Rebekka Wohlrab
Published in Proceedings - 2018 IEEE 15th International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Institutionen för data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering (GU)
Language en
Keywords Decentralized systems, Human robot collaboration, Robotics, Self-adaptive systems, Software architecture
Subject categories Computer and systems science, Information Systems


© 2018 IEEE. Robotic applications are typically realized using ad hoc and domain-specific solutions, which challenges the engineering and cross-project reuse of such applications. Especially in complex scenarios, where self-adaptive robots collaborate among themselves or with humans, the effective and systematic engineering of such applications is becoming increasingly important. Such scenarios require decentralized software architectures that foster fault-tolerant ways of managing large teams of (possibly) heterogeneous robots. To the best of our knowledge, no existing architecture for robot applications supports decentralized and self-adaptive collaboration. To address this gap, we conducted a design science study with 21 practitioners and experts in the field of robotics to develop an architecture fulfilling these requirements through several iterations. We present SERA, an architecture for robot applications that supports human-robot collaboration, as well as adaptation and coordination of single- and multi-robot systems in a decentralized fashion. SERA is based on layers that contain components that manage the adaptation at different levels of abstraction and communicate through well-defined interfaces. We successfully validated SERA by considering a set of real scenarios, by both using simulators and real robots, by involving robotic experts, and by benchmarking it with state-of-the-art solutions.

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