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Developing software for mobile robot applications is a tedious and error-prone task. Modern mobile robot systems are distributed systems, and their designs exhibit large heterogeneity in terms of hardware, operating systems, communications protocols, and programming languages. Vendor-provided programming environments have not kept pace with recent developments in software technology. Also, standardized modules for certain robot functionalities are beginning to emerge. Furthermore, the seamless integration of mobile robot applications into enterprise information processing systems is mostly an open problem. We suggest the construction and use of object-oriented robot middleware to make the development of mobile robot applications easier and faster, and to foster portability and maintainability of robot software. With Miro, we present such a middleware, which meets the aforementioned requirements and has been ported to three different mobile platforms with little effort. Miro also provides generic abstract services like localization or behavior engines, which can be applied on different robot platforms with virtually no modifications.
Date of Publication: Aug 2002