Code for Success: Software Development for Robotics Competitions

Publication Type:
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Robotics technologies have the potential to change the way we live for the better by reducing the difficulty of, helping with, or completely automating tasks. Robotics competitions such as RoboCup aim to push the field forward while providing an environment for participants to acquire important skills and knowledge. Most participants in these competitions are university teams with members from different backgrounds and levels of expertise, using different types of robots. These diverse teams must develop large and complex software stacks to accomplish their respective competitions’ objectives. This thesis aims to improve the software development process for these teams in regards to the development experience and competition outcomes. This will help push forward the robotics field and, consequently, our quality of life. The available literature about software development methodologies for non-professional teams in robotics competitions is currently limited. The objectives of this thesis include enlarging the available knowledge in this domain and creating a practical set of guidelines that improve the software development experience and outcomes for robotics competitions. In order to do this, the software development methodology of the UTS Unleashed! team was analyzed over three consecutive years of participation in the RoboCup@Home Social Standard Platform League from the point of view of the development lead. Additionally, expert feedback was gathered to analyze, discuss, and compare the software development methodology of other teams and experts in the RoboCup League. The research methodologies used in this thesis are Action Research, to explore UTS Unleashed!’s case study, and Grounded Theory, to analyze expert feedback gathered from a workshop and survey of members of the RoboCup community. To the author’s knowledge, this thesis presents the first longitudinal case study on a competitive team participating over multiple years in a robotics competition. Moreover, with the team under study achieving victory in their third year of participation. Furthermore, it is the first work showcasing expert feedback on a RoboCup teams’ software development process from the RoboCup community. This thesis concludes with a set of guidelines for software development practices for teams participating in robotic competitions. These guidelines offer insights and advice to improve competition team software development experiences and outcomes.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: