Service Robot

MyBot: Cloud-Based Service Robot using Service-Oriented Architecture

This paper1 presents a viable solution for the development of service robots by leveraging cloud…

This paper1 presents a viable solution for the development of service robots by leveraging cloud and Web services technologies, modular software architecture design, and Robot Operating System (ROS). The contributions of this paper are two-folded (1) Design of ROS Web services to provide new abstract interfaces to service robots that makes easier the interaction with and the development of service robots applications, and (2) Integration of the service robot to the cloud using the ROSLink protocol. We demonstrate through real-world implementation on the MyBot robot the effectiveness of these software abstraction layers in developing applications for service robots through the Internet and the cloud, and in accessing them through Internet. We believe that this work represents an important step towards a more popular use of service robots.

Introduction

The tremendous growth in utilization of robots has brought numerous benefits for humans with application to manufacturing, healthcare, mining, deep excavation, space exploration, etc. Use of robots has been a significant factor in improvement of human safety, reduction in maintenance / production costs and improved productivity [1].

It is widely forecasted that service robots would inundate the market reaching record sales in the next 20 years. In its statistical report, the International Federation of Robotics reported sale of 3 million service robots for personal and domestic within 2012. This number represents 20% increase in sales from the previous year accounting to US$ 1.2 billion [2]. Nowadays, one of the major challenges in the development of service robots is the lack of software engineering frame-works to build complex service robots’ applications that are modular, reusable, and easily extensible. Most of the available software for service robots are tightly coupled with the robotic platform and lack sufficient abstractions to remain generic for different platforms. Robot Operating System (ROS) is one of the widely used middleware to develop robotic applications, which represents an important
milestone in the development of modular software for robots. In fact, it presents different abstractions to hardware, network and operating system such as navigation, motion planning low-level device control, and message passing. However, the levels of abstractions are still not enough for developing complex and generic applications for mobile robots, in particular if those applications are distributed among several machines, requiring machine-to-machine communication. This paper addresses this gap, and proposes the design of a service-oriented software architecture that contains software abstractions. In particular, we designed and developed ROS Web Services, which are new interfaces that expose ROS ecosystem as Web services. Furthermore, we designed the ROSLink protocol that allow the service robot to be controlled and monitored through a cloud robotics system, namely Dronemap Planner [3], [4].

The contributions of this paper are as follow.

  • Design of a low-cost service robot Based on the Turtlebot platform and Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) hardware.
  • Design of software meta-models for the integration of Web services into ROS. To the best of our knowledge, the work presented is ground breaking as far as such integration is concerned.
  • Integration of ROS-based robots into the cloud using the ROSLink protocol.
  • Experimentation and deployment of the service robot for the validation of our architecture and discussion of experimental challenges.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section II discusses the state of-the-art with an emphasis on the contribution of this paper compared to similar works. Section III presents the mechanical design of the service robot. In Section IV, we present ROS Web services and the ROSLink protocol for cloud integration of the robot. In Section V, we present application deployments for the service robot. Section VI concludes the paper and outlines future works.


1This paper is an extended version of the conference paper presented in IEEE International Conference on Autonomous Robot Systems and Competitions (ICARSC 2016)

Anis Koubâa 1,2,3 , Mohamed-Foued Sriti 4, Yasir Javed 2 , Maram Alajlan 2,5, Basit Qureshi 1, Fatma Ellouze 2, 7, Abdelrahman Mahmoud 6,5
1 Prince Sultan University, College of Computer and Information Sciences, Saudi Arabia.
2 Gaitech International Ltd., China.
3 CISTER/INESC-TEC, ISEP, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
4 Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia.
5 King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
6 German University of Cairo, Egypt.
7 National Engineering Institute of Sfax (ENIS), Tunisia.

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