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The use of Ada to program a robot-based manufacturing cell, an example of real-time embedded system, is described. The computing issues in manufacturing cells are discussed with respect to Ada. Using an experimental manufacturing cell presently under construction as an example, a strategy for robot programming based on Ada is described. A case study of the software for the vision subsystem is used to illustrate a central feature of Ada, namely, data abstraction. Additional important features of Ada for software management, that is, multitasking and program abstraction through generics and operator overloading, are also illustrated. The principal advantages and difficulties in using Ada for programming robot-based manufacturing cells are summarized on the basis of the software issues described and the case study.