What Is Robot Programming?

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For robotic machines to function, they are installed with computer programs that control them.  A robot program is a set of coded commands or instructions that tell the robot what tasks to perform. The robot software is used to perform autonomous tasks. There are numerous software systems and frameworks that have been proposed to make programming robots easier.

Robotic programming is aimed at making mechanical devices intelligent. Since the robot programs are highly proprietary, like robot software, most robot hardware manufacturers also have their software. The robot program depends on the robot manufacturer. Universal Robot manufacturers have a unique robot program for their industrial robots. 

How Does the Robot Program Work

The software for industrial robots consists of data objects and lists of instructions known as the program flow. Several programming languages are used in robotic machines. Regardless of the language used, what matters is the result of the robot software. Universal robots have robotic applications that help and entertain people. These applications include command-and-control and tasking software.

Command-and- control software includes robot control for teleoperated robots, point-n- click command software for autonomous robots, and scheduling software for mobile robots in factories. The tasking software includes simple drag-n-drop interfaces for setting up delivery routes, security patrols, and visitor tours. The software also provides custom programs written to deploy specific applications. The general purpose of robot application software is used on widely distributed robotic platforms.

 Robot Programming Languages

 The robot programs are written in different programming languages specific to the manufacturer. There are so many programming languages, but they all function similarly. The following are some of the standard program languages used for industrial robots:

1. The Task in Plain English

This language consists of a set of instructions in plain English as follows;

  • Move to p1 (a general safe position)
  • Move to p2 (an approach to p3)
  • Move to p3 (a position to pick the object)
  • Close gripper
  • Move to p4 (a plan to p5)
  • Move to p5 (a position to place the object)
  • Open gripper
  • Move to p1 and finish

2. VAL Language

 VAL was one of the first robot languages that were used in Unimate robots. The programming language looks as follows; 

  • MOVE P1
  • MOVE P2
  • MOVE P3
  • CLOSEI 0.00
  • MOVE P4
  • MOVE P5
  • OPENI 0.00
  • MOVE P1.END

3. ROBOFORTH Language

This a language based on FORTH. With Robforth, the user can specify the positions and places without using p2 and p4 as follows;

  • : PICK PLACE
  • P1
  • P3 GRIP WITHDRAW
  • P5 UNGRIP WITHDRTAW
  • P1
  • ;

4. Visual Programming Language

This is a simple language that allows users to interact with it. The style has a graphic user interface (GUI) written with Lab VIEW. The approach is to start with the program rather than the data. You construct the program by dragging icons into the program area and adding it to the sequence. For each symbol, you specify the parameters.

5.  Scripting Languages

This is a high-level programming language that is used to control the software application. The style is interpreted in real-time instead of being compiled in advance.  A scripting language can be sued in the general-purpose programming language. It can also be limited to specific functions used to augment an application or system program’s running.

 Some scripting language contains data objects in their registers. Their program flow represents a set of instructions that are used to program the robot. 

 6. Parallel Languages

All robotic applications need parallelism and event-based programming. Parallelism is where the robot performs two or more things at the same time. For a robot to accomplish many things simultaneously, it requires appropriate hardware and software. Most programming languages have threads or multiple abstraction classes that can handle parallelism and its complexity.

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