Robotics Software Engineering: A Perspective from the Service Robotics Domain (Summary)
Paper in proceeding, 2020

We present our paper published in the proceedings of the ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering 2020. Robots that support humans by performing useful tasks (a.k.a., service robots) are booming worldwide. In contrast to industrial robots, the development of service robots comes with severe software engineering challenges, since they require high levels of robustness and autonomy to operate in highly heterogeneous environments. As a domain with critical safety implications, service robotics faces a need for sound software development practices. In this paper, we present the first large-scale empirical study to assess the state of the art and practice of robotics software engineering. We conducted 18 semi-structured interviews with industrial practitioners working in 15 companies from 9 different countries and a survey with 156 respondents (from 26 countries) from the robotics domain. Our results provide a comprehensive picture of (i) the practices applied by robotics industrial and academic practitioners, including processes, paradigms, languages, tools, frameworks, and reuse practices, (ii) the distinguishing characteristics of robotics software engineering, and (iii) recurrent challenges usually faced, together with adopted solutions. The paper concludes by discussing observations, derived hypotheses, and proposed actions for researchers and practitioners.

questionnaire study

software engineering


interview study


Sergio García Gonzalo

University of Gothenburg

Daniel Strüber

Radboud University

Davide Brugali

University of Bergamo

Thorsten Berger

University of Gothenburg

Patrizio Pelliccione

University of L'Aquila

University of Gothenburg

Lecture Notes in Informatics

1617-5468 (ISSN)

Vol. P-310 41-42
9783885797043 (ISBN)

Fachtagung des GI-Fachbereichs Softwaretechnik, Software Engineering 2021 - Conference of the GI Software Engineering Section, SE 2021
Braunschweig, Germany,

Subject Categories

Software Engineering


Computer Science



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