Bachelor and Master Theses

Title: Identifying and validating key features in a robot automation system
Subject: Computer Science
Level: Advanced
Description: Introduction

The department PRVS within ABB Robotics Products is responsible for software customer support and development validation of the industrial robot systems. These tasks are important regarding quality assurance and customer satisfaction. The purpose with the validation is, by finding weaknesses in the system early in the product cycle, to increase the quality of robot system and the compatibility between the different products within the ABB Robotics family. This results in reduced number of faults in at customer installations, increased possibility of proactive quality measures and fewer problems for the customers. For ABB Robotics it means lower cost of poor quality (COPQ), a stronger trademark regarding quality and a more competitive product. The validation team tests the system from a customer perspective in an environment similar that of the customer, securing system quality in new releases of software and hardware.

The software in the controller part of the robot system is written in C/C++ on top of VxWorks (real-time operating system). The software for the human interface unit is written in C# and is handheld with a touch panel and a joystick. The software that handles robot motion and interaction with other units, such as IO units, are written in RAPID, an ABB Robotics developed high level language for robot automation control. For testing and validation ABB Robotics use a pearl based framework, WebAST, for parsing test cases and executing command towards the external robot interface, RobAPI.


Developing test scenarios for validation purpose is challenging and important. To be able to find flaws or inconsistency in a system ready for release to customers requires test cases that provokes and challenges system execution. The knowledge of the different parts of the robot system is spread throughout the development organisation.

The thesis consist of identifying core elements in the robot system, documenting behaviours and test scenarios with the purpose to combine several features, like intense motion, high CPU-load, high memory usage, IO communication etc. Gathering this information requires reading system documentation, interviewing key feature responsible persons as well as exploring technical reports regarding specific functionalities, i.e. FTP, flash memory etc. The thesis also consists of evaluating the present validation test methodology, evaluating new concepts and proposing new solutions. This includes developing test scenarios and test cases according to the information gathered earlier, documenting problems and proposing solutions. It is also necessary to, based on previous knowledge, to extend and implement some of the functionality of the existing testing framework.

Scope: D-level for 2 persons

Expected result

• A report containing information about how to validate and provoke a robot system in the most efficient way, as well as identifying weaknesses in the system.
• Define and implement automatic test cases based on some parts of the previous report.
• Set up robot configurations, similar to that of ABB Robotics customers, including robot programming in RAPID, using external equipment such as IO unit etc.
• A report containing an evaluation of ABB Robotics testing/validation framework and test methodology.
• Extend ABB Robotics testing/validation framework based on previous evaluation. Present and implement prototype or proof-of-concept.
Company: ABB Robotics, kontaktperson: Daniel Gustavsson
Proposed: 2008-01-21
IDT supervisor: Ingemar Reyier, U3-045
Examinator: Bjrn Lisper
Bjrn Lisper, +46-21-151709

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