Testing Robots at home

Testing for the Robotics starts at home

June 21 2019
- by: The Sogeti Digital Assurance & Testing Practice

The use of Robotics in a Domestic context is on the rise. It may not be too far off before each of us will be having some form of robotic technology at home or in the workspace soon. Automation for household tasks is growing. It’s probably the case that some of you already have a self-automated robot vacuum cleaner. There are robots now on the market at reasonable prices for mowing the lawn and cleaning and it is only a matter of time before such systems will be utilize din more spaces in the house – in the kitchen and other spaces.

We might think this normal in a country like Japan, where there is a growing elderly population, where we see the rise also of “Social” partner robots for use in the home. These robots actually help fulfill the role of a companion, keeping the elderly person who lives alone busy with interactions and can help in case of medical emergencies among others. Needless to say, in such contexts, the robots will need to be guided and configured to the context. Perhaps one day they will also work as fulfilling the same role that guide sight dogs do for visually impaired persons. This means that the se robotic systems will be performing more and more “life critical” missions and so this will undoubtedly call for the systems to be regulated and therefore well tested and qualified.

Testing for such domestic Robotic systems will need to be advancing in the coming years. The industrial robotic testing in the past has been advancing as automation increases in industry.  However, the use of robotics at domestic settings presents many new challenges. The home context varies in geographic locations and as per cultures. A social robot will have to be configures for many languages and many cultural differences to be useful, a cleaning robot would be used differently in a city apartment setting than a large rural household. And the possible permutations for use of such robots in interactions with humans and of all age groups, will be a daunting testing challenge.

Structured testing processes such as TMap NEXT  provide a good foundation of the core essentials on testing  of the software systems of these Robotic frameworks and systems and many of the same approaches apply, however, keeping up with the challenges of the new robotic revolution where mechanical physics, electric engineering, and cloud based data exchanges play a role is something that will be advancing more and more in the coming years. Sogeti releases books such as “Testing in The Digital Age” as it was foreseen that the testing for robotic systems and will become more important in the future. To meet the need to have testing methods, tools and supporting processes in place beforehand, it is sure that it will be needed to keep the pace and further work out a body of knowledge for test approaches to test these robotic systems. In future postings, this topic will be recurring and some more ideas are to be shared diving deeper into such testing approaches. For now - Stay tuned!