Preparing Software Engineers to Develop Robot Systems

Published in 2022 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), 2021

Robotics is a rapidly expanding field that needs software engineers. Most of our undergraduates, however, are not equipped to manage the unique challenges associated with the development of software for modern robots. In this work we introduce a course we have designed and delivered to better prepare students to develop software for robot systems. The course is unique in that: it emphasizes the distinctive challenges of software development for robots paired with the software engineering techniques that may help manage those challenges, it provides many opportunities for experiential learning across the robotics and software engineering interface, and it lowers the barriers for learning how to build such systems. In this work we describe the principles and innovations of the course, its content and delivery, and finish with the lessons we have learned.