Publications

Santos A, Cunha A, Macedo N.  2019.  Static-time Extraction and Analysis of the ROS. Abstractros_model.pdf

The Robot Operating System (ROS) is one of the most popular open source robotic frameworks, and has contributed significantly to the fast development of robotics. Even though ROS provides many ready-made components, a robotic system is inherently complex, in particular regarding the architecture and orchestration of such components. Availability and analysis of a system’s architecture at compile time is fundamental to ease comprehension and development of higher-quality software. However, ROS developers have to overcome this complexity relying mostly on testing and runtime visualisers. This work aims to enhance static-time support by proposing, firstly, a metamodel to describe the software architecture of ROS systems (the ROS Computation
Graph) and, secondly, model extraction and visualisation tools for such architectural models. The provided tools allow users to specify custom-made queries over these models, enabling the static verification of relevant properties that had to be (manually) checked at runtime before.

Halder R, Proença J, Macedo N, Santos A.  2017.  Formal Verification of ROS-based Robotic Applications using Timed-Automata. FME Workshop on Formal Methods In Software Engineering. ros-formalise17.pdf
Santos A, Cunha A, Macedo N, Arrais R, dos Santos FN.  2017.  Mining the Usage Patterns of ROS Primitives. Abstractros_patterns.pdf

The Robot Operating System (ROS) is nowadays one of the most popular frameworks for developing robotic
applications. To ensure the (much needed) dependability and safety of such applications we forecast an increasing demand for ROS-specific coding standards, static analyzers, and tools alike. Unfortunately, the development of such standards and tools can be hampered by ROS modularity and configurability, namely the substantial number of primitives (and respective variants) that must, in principle, be considered.
To quantify the severity of this problem, we have mined a large number of existing
ROS packages to understand how its primitives are used in practice, and to determine which combinations of primitives are most popular. This paper presents and discusses the results of this study, and hopefully provides some guidance for future standardization efforts and tool developers.

Santos A, Cunha A, Macedo N, Lourenço CB.  2016.  A Framework for Quality Assessment of ROS Repositories. Abstractros_quality.pdf

Robots are being increasingly used in safety-critical contexts, such as transportation and health. The need for flexible behavior in these contexts, due to human interaction factors or unstructured operating environments, led to a transition from hardware- to software-based safety mechanisms in robotic systems, whose reliability and quality is imperative to guarantee. Source code static analysis is a key component in formal software verification. It consists on inspecting code, often using automated tools, to determine a set of relevant properties that are known to influence the occurrence of defects in the final product. This paper presents HAROS, a generic, plug-in-driven, framework to evaluate code quality, through static analysis, in the context of the Robot Operating System (ROS), one of the most widely used robotic middleware. This tool (equipped with plug-ins for computing metrics and conformance to coding standards) was applied to several publicly available ROS repositories, whose results are also reported in the paper, thus providing a first overview of the internal quality of the software being developed in this community.