Department of Computer Science

Making robots usable in everyday life

Patrizio Pelliccione

University of L'Aquila


Mobile robots are increasingly used in everyday life to autonomously realize missions such as exploring rooms, delivering goods, or following certain paths for surveillance. The current robotic market is asking for a radical shift in the development of robotic applications where missions specification is performed by robotic users that are not highly qualified and specialized in robotics or ICT.

To this aim, we first present a catalog of 22 mission specification patterns for mobile robots, together with tooling for instantiating, composing, and compiling the patterns to create mission specifications [1,2]. The patterns provide solutions for recurrent specification problems, each of which detailing the usage intent, known uses, relationships to other patterns, and—most importantly—a template solution in temporal logic. The patterns originate from 245 realistic textual mission requirements extracted from the robotics literature, and they are evaluated upon a total of 449 real-world mission requirements.

Then, we propose a Domain Specific Language (DSL) that enables nontechnical users to specify missions for a team of autonomous robots in a user-friendly and effective way [3,4]. The DSL contains a set of atomic tasks that can be executed by robots and a set of operators that allow the composition of these tasks in complex missions. Mission specification can be performed through a textual and a graphical interface. While the DLS support is provided by a standalone tool and can be integrated within a variety of frameworks, the current implementation has been integrated with a software platform that provides a set of functionalities, including motion control, collision avoidance, image recognition, SLAM, planning, etc. Our DSL has been successfully validated with both simulation and real robots.

The talk is related to the talk of Sebastian Brunner “The RAFCON Task Control Framework”, which presents a graphical tool for the creation and execution of robotic tasks.


[1] Claudio Menghi, Christos Tsigkanos, Patrizio Pelliccione, Carlo Ghezzi, Thorsten Berger (2019) Specification Patterns for Robotic Missions IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE).

[2] Mission Specification Patterns website (2019)

[3] Garcia, S., Pelliccione, P., Menghi, C., Berger, T., Bures, T.: High-level mission specification for multiple robots. In: 12th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE)s (2019).

[4] Promise website (2019)

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