Testing Autonomous Robot Control Software Using Procedural Content Generation

James Arnold, Rob Alexander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We present a novel approach for reducing manual effort when testing autonomous robot control algorithms. We use procedural content generation, as developed for the film and video game industries, to create a diverse range of test situations. We execute these in the Player/Stage robot simulator and automatically rate them for their safety significance using an event-based scoring system. Situations exhibiting dangerous behaviour will score highly, and are thus flagged for the attention of a safety engineer. This process removes the time-consuming tasks of hand-crafting and monitoring situations while testing an autonomous robot control algorithm. We present a case study of the proposed approach – we generated 500 randomised situations, and our prototype tool simulated and rated them. We have analysed the three highest rated situations in depth, and this analysis revealed weaknesses in the smoothed nearness-diagram control algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Safety, Reliability, and Security
Number of pages12
Volume8153 LNCS
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-40793-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event32nd International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security (SAFECOMP 2013) - Toulouse, France
Duration: 24 Sept 201327 Sept 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


Conference32nd International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security (SAFECOMP 2013)

Bibliographical note

© 2013, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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