Top 20 Robot Programming Languages

Human language consists of an arbitrary system of signs (more precisely, signifiers and signifieds) whose sole purpose is to communicate messages.

Likewise, a robot programming language consists of a numerical code that primarily contains the type of a command and, secondarily, the source and the destination addresses.

But, does not it look so cumbersome to program in a highly technical computer programming code, first the command and then the information pertaining to source and destination?

Yes! Thanks to the genius of the modern language developers who have made it possible to write a command program using everyday words and names.

But, before executing such a control program, it is first converted to a machine-language code program using a compiler. Every such high-level programming language has its compiler.

Some of the basic commands used in a robot program include:

  1. Motion and sensing functions (for example, MOVE, MONITOR)
  2. Computation functions (for example, ADD, DIVIDE, SORT)
  3. Program flow control functions (for example, RETURN, BRANCH)
robotic languages

In today’s advanced and profusely rich techno-scientific industrial culture, where the use of robots is rife, the methods and techniques employed for teaching or training the robots have exceptionally transubstantiated.

In avant-garde automation practices on an industrial scale, the traditional methods for training industrial robots such as mechanical set-up, point-to-point recording, and task lead are no longer preferable options as they do not use modern word-based sophisticated languages which are profoundly developed as of today and are widely used commercially in the mainstream industrial landscape.

Some of the advanced robot programming languages include Wave, AL, ACL, AML, APT, HELP, Karel, MML, MCM, ARM BASIC, IBL, and Ladder Logic, among many others.

Let’s discuss each individually.


It is known to be the first high-level robot programming language. It was developed in 1973 in the Stanford AI Lab.


AL stands for Arm Language. It is also an advanced robot language. It was developed at the Robotics Research Center (RRC) at Stanford University.


ACL stands for Advanced Command Language and is a sophisticated programming language. It provides a user-friendly conversational command language. Yaskaua robots are programmed in ACL.


It stands for A Manufacturing Language. It is a programming language that IBM uses in its robots. It is a well-developed computer language that provides all the necessary programming support mainly associated with superlative programming languages.


APT is for the Automatically Programmed Tools. It is a computer language that is associated with motion. It was developed in 1956 by the Electronic Systems Laboratory at MIT.


ARCL stands for A Robot Control Language. Initially, it was based on Pascal-like syntax. It was designed to be a compiled language.

A fully developed cross-compiler required three passes prior to the downloading of the executable programmed code and its subsequent execution in the robot.

Provided with Pascal-like syntax, ARCL is provided with sensory control and motion control commands.

A founding example of an ARCL-language command is MOVA (GRIP, HI, CONT, MED), which is used to open the gripper or an end effector.

It was fundamentally designed as a sensory-based programming language rather than programmed trajectory motion.


It is Zhe Da Robot language, which is chiefly a motion-oriented robot language. It was composed of 32 system commands and 37 program instructions, as it was mainly an interpretive system.

System commands were intended to prepare the system for the execution of the user-written instructions.

Moreover, it is designed to have capabilities such as program editing, file management, location-data teaching, program execution, program debugging, and others.


It is an advanced-level program language intended to be used with GE’s Allegro assembly robot.


Karel, Karel 2, and Karel 3 are the popular languages used by FANUC in its robot controllers.


It stands for Conversational Auto Programming 1. It is an avant-garde robot language used by the FANUC 32-18-T robot controller.


Developed at the University of California, MML is a Model-based Mobile robot Language. It is an advanced-level offline language.

It is constructed in a way to contains high-level sensor functions, geometric model description, and path planning, among many others.

It is equipped to have slow and fast functions: the slow function is executed sequentially, while the fast function is immediate.

Moreover, MML differentiates between the reference and current posture thereby giving precise and smooth motion control.


It stands for Robot Independent Programming Language. It is premised on an object-oriented robot-independent programming environment (RIPE) whose computing architecture consists of a hierarchical multiprocessor approach that uses distributed general and purpose-specific multiprocessors.

This complex architecture is responsible for the control of diverse and intricate sub-systems in the real-time world yet ascertaining reliable communications between them.


It stands for Manufacturing Control Language. McDonnell Douglas developed it for its exclusive use in the US Air Force’s ICAM project.


It is a modern programming language used in robotics. Robot Automatix Inc. developed it. It is used with robots provided with vision systems.


Developed by SRI, RPL (Reverse Polish Lisp) is used to configure automated manufacturing systems.


It is an excellent extension of the hobbyist computer language BASIC. It finds its applications in the Microbot Mini-Mover 5 educational robot.


This high-level robot language developed by Robotronic is used to make commanding a personal robot quite easier.


Developed by the PUMA lines of robots, VAL stands for Victor’s Assembly Language. It is very much similar to BASIC. Yet, it has a huge library consisting of vocabulary words used for writing and rewriting robot programs.


IBL stands for Instruction Based Learning. It is used to train robots in natural language instructions.

The robot to be trained is equipped with sensory-motor procedures, for example, turning right or following the road straight, etc, and are regarded as execution-level command language.

The trainer issues certain verbal instructions which are converted into a new procedure. This new procedure now becomes part of the previous knowledge of the robot, which can be used to learn other advanced procedures.

Ladder logic

Used in various automation and control systems, ladder logic is not a precise robot language. Rather, it is a graphical programming language used in PLCs. It relies on the visual representation of the control logic that closely resembles an electric circuit diagram.

What are the most modern computer languages used in robotics?

The modern high-level computer programming languages used in robotics include Wave, AL, ACL, AML, APT, ARCL, ZDRL, HELPKarel, CAP 1, MML, MCL, ARM BASIC, RAIL, VAL, Androtext, and ladder logic, among many others.