SEC has been carrying out research and development into robot software since 2003. We have built up a leading position in the market as one of the few software vendors with robot-related technology. With a particular focus on RT-Middleware (RTM), the componentization technology for robot control software, we are working on development of RTM products compliant with functional safety because of the need for advanced safety features on service robots used where we live. We also specialize in Robot Operating Systems (ROS), the frameworks for robot development, and meet the needs for a range of robot systems.

SEC robot software technologies

We meet requests for a range of robots and robot-related software.

 

  • Robot standardization and functional safety services
    • RT-Middleware/ROS education and consulting
    • Functional safety education and consulting
  • Robot software development
    In response to customer requests, we support individual development of robot software from research and development through to prototypes and practical applications.
    • Development using robot standardization technologies (RT-Middleware/ROS)
    • Individual software development for automated driving, automated guided vehicles (AGV), marine vessels, drones, industrial vacuums, agricultural machinery, etc.
    • Development using elemental technologies such as robot simulation, SLAM technologies, speech processing, image processing, artificial intelligence (AI), etc.
    • Development for communication robots (reception, translation, interpreting, etc.) and services that use them (monitoring support, personal healthcare, etc.)

RT-Middleware

RT-Middleware is a technology for componentizing robot elements (actuators, sensors, etc.) and robot control software. Simple combination of parts required for particular applications enables easy, fast and low-cost development of a wide range of robots. We are working on developing robots and components that use RT-Middleware and applying RT-Middleware to existing robots. We are also involved in activities to promote the use of RT-Middleware, such as writing books and delivering lectures.

RT-Middleware-based development track record (examples)

  • RTMSafety: RT-Middleware for Functional Safety
  • RT-Middleware vision system platform development
  • RT-Middleware advanced measurement device platform development
  • Mobile two-arm robot operation system
  • Household equipment automation system prototype
  • Human support robot-oriented content server environment development
  • Robot arm RT-Component development
  • Aged care robot proof-of-concept system
  • Visually impaired walking assistance-oriented obstacle detection technology development
  • RT-Middleware speech processing system framework, etc.

By changing the combination of modules,
we can develop many unique robot patterns.

ROS(Robot Operating System)

ROS is open-source software providing a range of libraries and tools for developing robot applications. It is gradually becoming the de facto standard in robot software development around the world. SEC is a member of ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas, a US-based robotics organization, through which we obtain and research the latest technology trends and pick up local business trends.

ROS-based development track record (examples)

We have an extensive track record of robot software development, including autonomous movement, arm control, interaction, and simulation.
 

  • Rtino: Indoor autonomous mobile robot software
  • Rtrilo: Vision for Robots and Devices
  • AGV-oriented autonomous movement software development
  • Mobility-oriented autonomous movement software development
  • Agricultural machinery-oriented autonomous movement software development
  • Drone-oriented autonomous movement software development
  • Robot arm control software development
  • Robot interactive speech software development
  • Infrastructure inspection robot software development
  • Infrastructure inspection robot simulation development
  • Space robot simulation development
  • Space robot-oriented middleware assessment, etc.

Functional safety technologies

Service robots that coexist with humans require functional safety for overall safety and peace of mind. It is expected that in the future, service robots that are not based on international standards for functional safety, such as IEC 61508 and ISO 13482, will not be feasible products. However, developing a robot with consideration for functional safety is both complex and difficult, which inevitably increases costs.


While developing robot software with functional safety, we are also involved in activities to aid the spread of safe robots through the market.

RTMSafety: RT-Middleware for Functional Safety

Aiming for safe and reliable robots, RTMSafety is the first robot middleware to achieve certification according to the IEC 61508 standard. It contributes to reducing costs and development time when creating highly-dependable and safe robots.

Initiatives toward high value-added robots

Research into robot autonomous movement

We are developing technologies for automated generation of map data and autonomous movement to enable movement of robots. We have commercialized the results of this research in our "Rtino" indoor autonomous mobile robot software.

Research into computer vision for use with autonomous mobile robots

We are developing techniques for applying technologies to robots for identification and recognition of objects using cameras, etc. in combination with AI technologies. We have commercialized the results of this research in our "Rtrilo" computer vision software.

Initiatives toward high value-added robots: Joint research and development

Research into the circuitization of intelligent processing aimed at equipping robots with AI

Together with the Kyushu Institute of Technology, we are conducting joint research into the circuitization of intelligent processing—incorporating field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA)—and into turning this circuitized intelligent processing into a platform that can be manipulated as a component of RT-Middleware (RTM).

Research into platforms that link robots and AI

Together with Waseda University, we are conducting joint research into AI and machine learning platforms that can be easily used and shared by robot researchers and AI researchers alike, with the goal of integrating robot development and AI development.

NEDO: Promotion of Market Implementation by Applying Robotics

Under the research theme of “Development of a human-robot collaborative platform for light work,” we are developing robots that are able to do light work, such as greeting customers, serving, and displaying products and services, in restaurants, convenience stores, and other stores where robots have not yet been used.