Managing Large Robotics Software Teams
Software development is not always an easy undertaking. But what if you are faced with the task of developing an entire robot. Here is where you have to tighten up. Here we will talk about software and the implementation in tandem with hardware.
There are unique challenges that must be overcome to ensure that the robot meets the requirements, functions adequately, and is delivered on time and within budget.
However, according to the website Statista, in 2021, the global market for industrial robots was estimated at approximately $43.8 billion. The market’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to be around 10 percent and reach nearly $70.6 billion by 2028.
And this means that the interest in managing robot development teams is also steadily growing.
Building a robot requires a collaborative effort between software engineers, system engineers, electrical engineers, control engineers, and mechanical engineers.
Robots are made up of many types of processors, actuators, and sensors. So when your dedicated software development team gets to work, its engineers must constantly learn new APIs, tools, and methods to work with a wide range of components.
Here are some principles that will help you effectively lead a team of software engineers to ensure they work safely:
Effective communication is critical. It is essential that you can organize daily Scrum meetings and phone calls. As a software manager, consider bringing in engineers from other disciplines. They don’t have to come every day, but if you extend the invitation, you provide a forum for extended team members to turn to when they need something from the software development team.
And it’s not just about the development engineers who work on your team. Robots are pretty expensive. According to Forbes, the global medical robotics market will reach $12.7 billion by 2025. Of these, the share of surgical robots was estimated at 6.1 billion.
Extensive software development teams often have only a few robots available for development. It’s good to know how to distribute the available resources between the prominent team members—anyone who wants to access the robot coordinates directly with the chief development engineer.
Since software engineers develop the entire software stack for robots, they must be jacks of all trades. A software engineer must also be proficient in their primary programming language, C++, Python, Simulink, and MATLAB. It includes firmware, board support packages (BSPs), embedded operating systems, device drivers, and application code. Also, if you are using a specialized environment such as ROS or ROS2, your team will need to have a good command of that environment and tools.
Ask for robots, and robotics is growing. Jobs for design engineers and robot programmers are on the rise. And if you can successfully and efficiently manage resources such as expensive robot equipment and engineering teams, you are bound to be a great success.
Author’s bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.