Abstractions for programming distributed robotic applications

Sayan Mitra
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Connected vehicles and distributed robotic application are poised to transformed transportation, agriculture, delivery, and exploration. Following the trends in cloud, mobile, and machine learning applications, finding the right programming abstractions is key in unlocking this potential. A robot's code needs to sense the environment, control the hardware, and communicate with other robots. Current programming languages do not provide the necessary hardware platform-independent abstractions, and therefore, developing robot applications require detailed knowledge of signal processing, control, path planning, network protocols, and various platform-specific details. Further, porting applications across hardware platforms becomes tedious. In this talk, I will present our recent explorations in finding good abstractions for robot code. The end result of our research is a new language called Koord which abstracts platform-specific functions for sensing, communication, and low-level control and makes platform-independent control and coordination code portable and modularly verifiable.

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