Software for Small-scale Robotics: A Review

  • Tobias TiemerdingEmail author
  • Sergej Fatikow


In recent years, a large number of relatively advanced and often ready-to-use robotic hardware components and systems have been developed for small-scale use. As these tools are mature, there is now a shift towards advanced applications. These often require automation and demand reliability, efficiency and decisional autonomy. New software tools and algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help here. However, since there are many software-based control approaches for small-scale robotics, it is rather unclear how these can be integrated and which approach may be used as a starting point. Therefore, this paper attempts to shed light on existing approaches with their advantages and disadvantages compared to established requirements. For this purpose, a survey was conducted in the target group. The software categories presented include vendor-provided software, robotic software frameworks (RSF), scientific software and in-house developed software (IHDS). Typical representatives for each category are described in detail, including SmarAct precision tool commander, MathWorks Matlab and national instruments LabVIEW, as well as the robot operating system (ROS). The identified software categories and their representatives are rated for end user satisfaction based on functional and non-functional requirements, recommendations and learning curves. The paper concludes with a recommendation of ROS as a basis for future work.


Robotic control software engineering micro/nano robotics artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML) open source. 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computing Science, Division Microrobotics and Control Engineering (AMiR)University of OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.OFFIS-Institute for Information TechnologyR&D Division Automation and Integration Technology (AIT)OldenburgGermany

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