Software Platforms for Service Robots
by Michael Somby

What is special about service robotics as compared to industrial robotics? Imagine it gets dark in the living room and you turn on the light. For most industrial robots, such a change in the illumination pattern would be a catastrophic event. Those robots are designed to work in closely controlled industrial settings. Their computer vision systems are not able to cope with such changes in the illumination without reconfiguration or reprogramming. On the other hand, interacting with the dynamic and changing world is a survival requirement for most service robots.

New pieces of furniture, random obstacles, walking people, missing or unknown objects, unprofessional users, children, pets, cars on the road — those features comprise the dynamic environment where a service robot needs to be able to operate. Besides that, most service robots are mobile and work in close proximity to people.