MORSE Results


With the advent of standard hardware/software platforms for robots and the dynamics with which software ecosystems and appstores develop in application markets, the following research topics arise in the overlap of Software Engineering and Robotics:

  • Software and app reuse for robotics
  • End-user app development
  • The compliance to legal and safety constraints
  • Total cost of ownership

Therefore, there is a need for a new paradigm of software and system development for robots. This suggests establishing a new joint community of researchers from robotics and software engineering.


Model-Based Robot Software Engineering (MORSE) is a methodology for the development of  methods, languages, tools, infrastructures, patterns, principles and ecosystems to enable the effective and efficient model-based development, evolution and use of robotic applications on standard platforms by third party developers and end users. This ranges from highly safety-critical apps where a high level of dependability is required to highly adaptive, autonomous apps where more innovative and agile behaviour is required.

  • Standard platforms mainly mean software platforms, including component models (in particular for sensing, actuating, deciding and acting), such as plugin concepts, connector mechanisms, or ontologies.
  • Important models include context models, user interface models, behaviour models (discrete behaviour modelling and continuous behaviour modelling and their integration), device models etc.
  • The new community develops new business models such as product line business models, software ecosystem business models, prosumer models, service models etc.
  • End user modelling, usage modelling, goal modelling, and user experience evaluation are very important. This includes user interface modelling, gesture modelling, brain-robot interfaces etc.
  • New forms of human-robot interaction patterns and use cases should be developed.
  • Methods are searched to make robots compliant to legal and safety rules and laws, develop ideas for robot laws
  • New forms of robot collaboration in cyber-physical systems, ways to handle emergent behaviour
  • Robots may invoke services from the cloud or provide them (“cloud robots”); robots may have to communicate with each other or with the cloud in real-time using a communication infrastructure with real-time guarantees, such as real-time web

We classify robot applications by their application area using the following terminology:

Know what the robot will do Know what the robot will not do
Anthropomorphic No No
Useful Yes No
Harmless No Yes
Predictable Yes Yes


The vision is to pave the way for the era in which large communities of developers create downloadable apps for a range of standard platforms. Standard platforms mainly mean software platforms including component models (in particular for sensing and actuating), plugin concepts, connector mechanism and ontologies. Important models include context models, user interface models, behaviour models (discrete/continuous) and device models. We foresee new business models to create shared revenue for all participants such as software product line business models, software ecosystem business models and prosumer models. End user modeling and usage modeling are very important. This includes user interface design and human-robot interaction patterns.


The agenda of the MORSE community is:

  • to define a precise and complete terminology and standardize it towards an ontology
  • to develop an interdisciplinary community building awareness and acceptance of the new methodology
  • to identify real-world reference applications and use cases
  • to develop  reference architectures, modelling languages, tool chains, frameworks, end-user-friendly interaction technology
  • to solve the problems of heterogeneous hardware, software, communication; to bridge the different involved technical spaces
  • to define development processes and their evaluation metrics
  • to contribute to future standards, certification processes and technologies
  • to suggest additions to emerging robot laws
  • to optimize the cost-value relationship of hardware-software robotic platforms

Nest Steps

  • Workshop Next September early on
    • Call for Papers: Colin, Uwe, Hans
    • Standalone Workshop with 2 days papers, 2 days workshop
      • Possible Conferences: MODELS, ECMFA (Kiel, Feb 25-28, 2014), GI Modellierung (Vienna, March 2014) European Conference on Mobile Robots (Sep 2015)
    • Companies: FESTO, KUKA, Metralabs, H & S, ABB Robotertechnik, Yashikawa
    • User Communities
    • Interesting platforms for a PIM: Kuka YouBot (TU Dresden), FESTO Robotino (3k Chemnitz), TurtleBot (1.5k TU Dresden), Metralabs Scitos (HTW Dresden)
    • End-Users: Daimler, BMW, Audi, Factory Automation/Dualis, Honda Research (Böhme)
    • Website with Blog or Wiki: Gerd Wagner/Cottbus
  • Saxonian project
    • Tunnel robots
    • AAL with TurtleBots and Scitos; Cognitec, T-Systems MMS
  • Horizon 2020 project?
    • Granted projects of Service Robot Call 2012
  • BMBF Industrie-4.0: trace next year on next call
  • DFG: Graduate school for Saxony?


Presentation Material

  • Uwe Aßmann (TU Dresden) [Slides]
  • Colin Atkinson (U Mannheim) [Slides]
  • Frank Furrer (independent) [Slides] [References]
  • Gerd Wagner (BTU Cottbus)
  • Dietmar Schreiner (TU Vienna)
  • Hans-Joachim Böhme (HTW Dresden) [Slides]
  • Peter Poschmann (HTW Dresden) [Slides]
  • Bernhard Jung (U Freiberg)
  • Florian Niebling (TU Dresden) [Slides]
  • Christian Piechnick (TU Dresden)
  • Somayeh Malakuti (TU Dresden)
  • Claas Wilke (TU Dresden) [Slides]
  • Georg Püschel (TU Dresden) [Slides]

Robots, Robot Parts and Robot Manufacturers

  • Aldebaran Robotics
    Company based in France and now (apparently) owned by Japanese. Creator of the famous NAO robot and maybe sometime its large „brother“ Romeo.
  • Willow Garage
    American company and creator of the PR2 as well as the initial specification for the TurtleBot.
  • KUKA Robotics
    German company and one of the market leaders for industrial robots in Europe. Seems as if they currently try to enter the private market. Most relevant product for our purposes is the YouBot.
  • PAL Robotics
    Spanish robotics company with primarily three human-sized robots called Reem B,

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    Reem C and simply Reem. Reem B is their now outdated biped robot and Reem C is their newest biped robot. The robot simply called Reem seems to be their most successful and it is wheeled. PAL Robotics seems to be very interested in getting requirements for robots from their prospective customers and they also sell parts of robots.

  • MetraLabs
    German manufacturer of mobile robots. Especially the Scitos G5 is a sturdy wheeled platform with multiple potential extensions.
  • H & S Robots Ilmenau
    German developer and manufacturer of humanoid and special robots.
  • Festo
    German engineering company. Recently developed the Robotino and Robotino XT platforms to assits in research on and teaching of robotics. Also has other interesting robots such as the Air Jelly, the Aqua Jelly or the Air Ray (see video resources).
  • ABB Robotics
    One of the leading German manufacturers of industry robots.
  • Yaskawa/Motoman
    Japanese manufacturer of industrial robots with subsidiaries in Europe.
  • I Heart Engineering
    American company. Not a robot manufacturer in the original sense but they assemble robots and send them to you. Best choice to buy pre-assembled TurtleBots.
  • E-Mec
    Dresden-based startup focussed on development (engineering and manufacturing) of prototypes for mechanical and/or electrical components. Willing to and capable of building a custom personal robot. Very interested in collborations with science within a project that could fund their development efforts.
  • iClebo Kobuki
    Platform serving as engine of the TurtleBot (version 2, the old one had a retrofitted iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaning robot). Manufacturing company is Korean and seems to build this platform mostly for scientific purposes but not a particular business case.
  • Microsoft Kinect
    The de facto standard in cameras when it comes to affordable pre assembled home robots. Easy to program but things may get clumsy when not using Windows.
  • ASUS Xtion
    The Kinect pendant built on the deluxe version of the TurtleBot. Mostly the same capabilities as the Kinect (version 1). Drivers may not be as good but more flexible in terms of target platform and language.

Robot Videos