A new software architecture for controlling industrial robots, combining modern software paradigms and hard real-time


Software engineering has advanced essentially. The two major concepts are the change from imperative to object-oriented programming languages and the introduction of service-oriented architectures. During this process powerful instruments have been created to industrialize software construction. As a consequence, complex applications can be realized with a fractional amount of manpower.

The main intention of the project SoftRobot is to transfer these two concepts to industrial robotics. Therefore, a new software architecture for controlling industrial robots will be developed. The combination of modern software paradigms and the consideration of hard real-time is an innovative approach. The resulting reference architecture can change the development in industrial robotics tremendously.

Moreover, an intuitive and graphical development environment for engineering robotics software will be created. Traditionally, programming an industrial robot requires profound knowledge and needs to be performed by an expert. Nowadays graphical development tools enable non-experts to create complex software products. However, the approaches in robotics are only rudimental and will be extended to a graphical programming language during the project.

The project is performed in cooperation with KUKA Roboter and MRK Systeme and funded by Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Infrastruktur, Verkehr und Technologie (StMWIVT).


KUKA Roboter GmbH
MRK-Systeme GmbH

Key facts

Start date:
End date:

Funded by

Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Infrastruktur, Verkehr und Technologie (StMWIVT)


WiiLabyrinth with KUKA's youBot

Adaptation of the classical wooden marble labyrinth game for the new KUKA youBot (the video shows a prototype). The robot is controlled by a Nintendo Wii controller. Different game modes are possible, where two players can play cooperatively or against each other. This game was created as a project of the bavarian elite graduate program Software Engineering at the University of Augsburg.


Tele-operation using two KUKA Lightweight Robots and MS Surface

Two KUKA Lightweight Robots are remote controlled (tele-operated) by a Microsoft surface application utilizing mult-touch and tangible interaction. The operator cannot see the robots directly, he can just use three types of feedback that are provided: the picture taken by a camera mounted on the right robot, a 3D visualization of the robot poses and the force values measured by the robots at their end effectors. These force values are displayed inside the 3D visualization. The application is powered by a robot control architecture developed in the research project SoftRobot. The architecture includes a real-time robot control core supporting the Realtime Primitives Interface (RPI) and the Java-based Robotics API for high level robot application modeling.


Factory 2020

This demonstration was developed for the final presentation of the research project SoftRobot. It shows some vision of how assembly tasks might be performed by robots in the not so distant future. Key technical challenges are force controlled motion, real-time robot synchronization and multi-robot coordination. The application is completely programmed in Java, using the software stack developed in the SoftRobot project.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reif

Dr. Gerhard Schellhorn

Andreas Angerer

Alwin Hoffmann

Andreas Schierl

Michael Vistein

Institute for Software & Systems Engineering

The Institute for Software & Systems Engineering (ISSE), directed by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reif, is a scientific institution within the Faculty of Applied Computer Science of the University of Augsburg. In research, the institute supports both fundamental and application-oriented research in all areas of software and systems engineering. In teaching, the institute facilitates the further development of the faculty's and university's relevant course offerings.