From OSRF


The ROS Industrial Consortium was established four years ago as a partnership between Yaskawa Motoman Robotics, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Willow Garage, and Fraunhofer IPA. The idea was to provide a ROS-based open-source framework for robotics applications, designed to make it easy (or at least possible) to leverage advanced ROS capabilities (like perception and planning) in industrial environments. Basically, ROS-I adds models, libraries, drivers, and packages to ROS that are specifically designed for manufacturing automation, with a focus on code quality and end user reliability.

Mirko Bordignon from Fraunhofer IPA opened the final ROSCon 2016 keynote by pointing out that ROS is still heavily focused on research and service robotics. This isn't a bad thing, but with a little help, there's an enormous opportunity for ROS to transform industrial robotics as well. Over the past few years. The ROS Industrial Consortium has grown into two international consortia (one in America and one in Europe), comprising over thirty members that provide financial and managerial support to the ROS-I community.

To help companies get more comfortable with the idea of using ROS in their robots, ROS-I holds frequent training sessions and other outreach events. "People out there are realizing that at least they can't ignore ROS, and that they actually might benefit from it," Bordignon says. And companies are benefiting from it, with ROS starting to show up in a variety of different industries in the form of factory floor deployments as well as products.

Bordignon highlights a few of the most interesting projects that the ROS-I community is working on at the moment, including a CAD to ROS workbench, getting ROS to work on PLCs, and integrating the OPC data protocol, which is common to many industrial systems.

Before going into deeper detail on ROS-I's projects, Shaun Edwards from SwRI talks about how the fundamental idea for a ROS-I consortium goes back to one of their first demos. The demo was of a PR2 using 3D perception and intelligent path planning to pick up objects off of a table. "[Companies were] impressed by what they saw at Willow Garage, but they didn't make the connection: that they could leverage that work," Edwards explains. SwRI then partnered with Yaskawa to get the same software running on an industrial arm, "and this alone really sold industry on ROS being something to pay attention to," says Edwards.

Since 2014, ROS-I has been refining a general purpose Calibration Toolbox for industrial robots. The goal is to streamline an otherwise time-consuming (and annoying) calibration process. This toolbox covers robot-to-camera calibration (with both stationary and mobile cameras), as well as camera-to-camera calibration. Over the next few months, ROS-I will be releasing templates for common calibration use cases to make it as easy as possible.

Path planning is another ongoing ROS-I project, as is ROS support for CANOpen devices (to enable IoT-type networking), and integrated motion planning for mobile manipulators. ROS-I actually paid the developers of the ROS mobile manipulation stack to help with this. "Leveraging the community this way, and even paying the community, is a really good thing, and I'd like to see more of it," Edwards says.

To close things out, Edwards briefly touches on the future of ROS-I, including the seamless fusion of 3D scanning, intelligent planning, and dynamic manipulation, which is already being sponsored by Boeing and Caterpillar. If you'd like to get involved in ROS-I, they'd love for you to join them, and even if you're not directly interested in industrial robotics, there are still plenty of opportunities to be part of a more inclusive and collaborative ROS ecosystem.

  Next up: Kai von Szadkowski (University of Bremen) Check out last week's post: MoveIt! Strengths, Weaknesses, and Developer Insight

Next ROS Summer School by FH Aachen

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From Patrick Wiesen

As mentioned in February News we are offering the next ROS Summer School from 15th till 26th of August 2016 at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen (FH Aachen), Germany.
This year a special UAV ROS weekend (27/28th August) will complement the ROS Summer School. Over 60 participants are already registered, but there are still some hacking seats left. The registration dead line is coming weekend: 30th of April! Afterwards we will generate a waiting list for more participants. Register now!

aachen_summer_school_group.png

The following subjects are covered: ROS Basics, Communication, Hardware Interfacing, Teleoperation, Transforms, Gazebo Simulation, Landmark Detection, Localization, Mapping, Navigation, Control as well as some ROS Industrial exhibition. All this can be experienced with real hardware using our mobile robots - the FH Aachen Rover - after learning some theory.

In addition to the above, it is worth mentioning the big success of our recent ROS Summer School at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa. Thanks to people there joining and supporting us. It was great fun and a nice learning atmosphere! We had more than 20 participants and they learned ROS from scratch. After one week, five teams competed with their autonomous FH Aachen Rovers on a round track including Mapping and Localization in a final challenge. After five Summer Schools it was the first time that no Rover hits a wall - congratulations!

This is what our participants just managed in one week, so let's see in August what they can do in two weeks?!

The group photo shows our participants at TUT in South Africa, our colleagues from the 3D printing Goethelab in Aachen, who held as well a Summer School at TUT and us, surrounded by happy robot enthusiasts.
Jacob Perron via ros-users@

This is an announcement for create_autonomy, a ROS driver for the iRobot Create 1 and Create 2 (Roomba 400-800 series).
Based on iRobot's Open Interface Spec, it provides access to a variety of sensor information including wheel odometry, bumpers, light sensors, and button presses. There is also interfaces for controlling the various LEDs and invoking the built-in docking behaviour.

Documentation and source code can be found on GitHub: https://github.com/autonomylab/create_autonomy

Many additional features are planned for the near future, such as a sound interface and access to the brush/vacuum motors.

Hope you enjoy!
From OSRF


Dave Coleman has worked in (almost) every robotics lab there is: Willow Garage, JSK Humanoids Lab in Tokyo, Google, UC Boulder, and (of course) OSRF. He's also the owner of PickNik, a ROS consultancy that specializes in training robots to destructively put packages of Oreo cookies on shelves. Dave has been working on MoveIt! since before it was first released, and to kick off the second day of ROSCon, he gave a keynote to share everything he knows about motion planning in ROS.

MoveIt! is a flexible and robot agnostic motion planning framework that integrates manipulation, 3D perception, kinematics, control, and navigation. It's a collaboration between lots of people across many different organizations, and is the third most popular ROS package with a fast-growing community of contributors. It's simple to set up and use, and for beginners, a plugin lets you easily move your robot around in Rviz.

As a MoveIt! pro, Dave offers a series of pro tips on how to get the most out of your motion planner. For example, he suggests that researchers try using C++ classes individually to avoid getting buried in a bunch of layered services and actions. This makes it easier to figure out why your code doesn't work. Dave also describes his experience in the Amazon Picking Challenge, held last year at ICRA in Seattle.

MoveIt! is great, but there's still a lot of potential for improvement. Dave discusses some of the things that he'd like to see, including better reliability (and more communicative failures), grasping support, and, as always, more documentation and better tutorials. A recent MoveIt! community meeting resulted in a future roadmap that focuses on better humanoid kinematic support and support for other types of planners, as well as integrated visual servoing and easy access to calibration packages.

Dave ends with a reminder that progress is important, even if it's often at odds with stability. Breaking changes are sometimes necessary in order to add valuable features to the code. As with much of ROS, MoveIt! depends on the ROS community to keep it capable and relevant. If you're an expert in one of the components that makes MoveIt! so useful, you should definitely consider contributing back with a plug-in from which others can take advantage.

Next up: Mirko Bordignon (Fraunhofer IPA), Shaun Edwards (SwRI), Clay Flannigan (SwRI), et al. Check out last week's post: Real-time Performance in ROS 2

Today, the ROS Community Build Tool Team has released the second catkin_tools beta, Version 0.4.0!

Previously, a quick summary:
- `catkin_tools` is an improved toolchain for building catkin workspaces
- the CLI command is `catkin build`
- it builds packages in parallel with isolated build directories (no CMake crosstalk)
- it builds "pure" CMake packages that don't use Catkin macros
- it lets you build subsets of a workspace
- it needs to be tested more before being recommended over `catkin_make`
- the documentation for all the additional features can be found here: http://catkin-tools.readthedocs.org/

The top five reasons you'll want to try Beta 2:
Either install it with pip:
pip install catkin_tools --upgrade

or install via apt-get with:
apt-get update
apt-get install python-catkin-tools

To check the version of catkin_tools you're using, run:
catkin --version

If you've installed the second beta (0.4.0), you should see:
catkin_tools 0.4.0 (C) 2014-2016 Open Source Robotics Foundation

For those new to catkin_tools, see the migration guide:

Any issues, questions, or feature requests should be posted on GitHub:

Thanks!
-The ROS Community Build Tool Team

ROS Kinetic Kame Tshirt and Logo Announced

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With each release of ROS we have a tradition of having a logo and making t-shirts. ROS Kinetic Kame is coming out in May. Show your ROS colors and support this tradition!  Visit the Teespring Campaign page here to order your shirt. 

kinetic_tshirt_front.png
Proceeds from shirt sales go to supporting the costs associated with developing and maintaining ROS, including hosting the wiki and running the build farm. 

There are both mens and womens sizes as well as hoodies, v-necks and triblends available. 

Order now and if this campaign is funded we expect the shirts to arrive approximately when ROS Kinetic Kame is released. The campaign closes on May 9th don't wait too long to order. 

Here's a high resolution version of the Kinetic logo. 

kinetic.png

Note that we have two providers one in the US and one in Europe. The main link: http://bit.ly/KinteicKame redirects based on your IP address. If you want to access the individual pages you can visit: https://teespring.com/ros-kinectic-kame and https://teespring.com/ros-kinetic-kame-eu directly. 




ROS By Example Now Available in Chinese

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ros_by_example_chinese.png


ROS By Example, the first book published on ROS, is now available in Chinese, thanks to the translation efforts of Juan Rojas, Assistant Professor of Robotics at Sun Yat-sen University, and the sponsorship of Jenssen Chang, Owner of Gaitech International Ltd., an innovative robotics solution provider based in Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei and Shanghai, and an active promoter of ROS education in Asia   The new Mandarin translation can be obtained in print from Worldwide @ TaobaoWorldDangDang.com, and JD.com.  The translation was a team effort including the following students: Liu ZhenDong, Li Ziran, Li JiaNeng, Liu Ke Shan, Peng Ye Yi, and Huang LingLing.
From Hurdle Motors

Hurdler Motors, Inc., is a startup in upstate New York that is developing an innovative self-driving personal robotic vehicle to address the unmet needs of urban dwellers, commuters, first responders and package delivery companies with disruptive capabilities and features that provide significant benefits over automobiles and public transportation in urban environments. You will be the person in charge of developing the products, bringing them to production and recruiting and leading a team of topnotch talents. We are pre-seed funding. Your talents, experience, skills and contributions will help disrupt urban transportation to improve the quality of life in cities. Hurdler Motors has IP. Its first full-size early working prototype proved out the concept and successfully passed the tests of performing key tasks for which it was built. Now we need a CTO to get seed and Series A funding.

You:
•       Passionate about building mobile robots, seeking the truth and winning together
•       Solid understanding of robotic hardware and navigation
•       Solid practical experience
•       Core member of Executive Management
•       Smart, Innovative
•       Proven Leadership experience
•       Interested in building the brand and culture of the engineering talent
•       Legally authorized to work in the US

Job Description
•       Design the tech specs for the personal transportation bot
•       Lead hardware and software development for transportation bot.
•       Build advanced prototypes and turn them into great products
•       Recruit and manage top talent team of engineers
•       Determine and design, all architecture, software, hardware, sensors,    processors, motors, procurement, vendor selection, purchasing
•       Be part of executive team that develops product strategy
•       Steer user interface creation
•       Oversee
a.      Vision-based autonomous capabilities
b.      Networking of robots
•       Create advanced prototype for user studies and obtain feedback

Responsibilities
•       Full Time
•       Executive Management
•       Team Leadership

Desired Skills and Experience
•       Minimum 4 years industrial experience
•       Should have completed  developing and building operating mobile robots for outdoor environments
•       Should have led the product/technology from concept through completion
•       Taken robotic project to completion
•       Should have created fully functional product
•       Experience testing robots
•       Proficiency with    using ROS (in C++ and Python).
•       Command of AI
•       Versed in 3D navigation
•       Preferably entrepreneurial experience in robotics, AI, sensors, automotive
•       Experience with testing robots in outdoor/indoor conditions

Education
PhD or Masters Degree: Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Automotive (EV),

Compensation
•       Equity
•       Competitive salary and benefits after funding

Please contact information@hurdlermotors.com
www.hurdlermotors.com

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