Results matching “Robots Using ROS”

ROSCon Japan 2018 Successfully Concluded

The first officially licensed local ROSCon event, ROSCon JP 2018, was held in Tokyo, Japan on the 14th of September. ROSCon JP 2018 was held in conjunction with the Open Source Robotics Foundation.

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189 people participated on the day (excluding sponsors' invitations and staff). The livestream had a steady 60 to 70 people watching at any one time throughout the day. Thanks to all the participants, ROSCon JP was an exciting day for all. Presentation slides and videos will be published on the website in a few weeks.

The invited talks from Brian Gerkey (Open Robotics) and Nicholas Yeo (ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific), 14 submitted talks, 13 lightning talks, 26 exhibitors' booths, and everything else about the conference was of high quality. Topics of presentation included

  • a presentation from Panasonic comparing navigation using the navstack with using commercial navigation system for hospital delivery robots;

  • the use of ROS in space robotics by JAXA;

  • the application of ROS and Gazebo to a marine robotics challenge (which finished with a surge in donations to the presenters' crowdfunding page to help them attend the next challenge); and

  • a discussion of how Sony applied ROS to the development of the newest Aibo. (Find out more at ROSCon 2018 in Madrid)

A catered lunch and reception and a popular exhibitors' hall provided many opportunities for participants to mix with each other and make new connections.

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Sponsors

ROSCon JP 2018 was sponsored by the following companies and organisations:

Platinum: Sony

Gold: Renesas, Seqsense, Tier IV, iSiD, Analog Devices, TIS, SICK

Silver: eSOL, GROOVE X, EAMS Lab

Bronze: Honda Research Institute Japan, RT Corporation, Mamezou, INTEC, Robotis, Z Robotix

Friendship: Tokyo Opensource Robotics Kyokai Association

As our first event, we consider ROSCon JP 2018 to have been a massive success and a credit to the Japanese ROS user community.

Looking foward to ROSCon 2018 we're highlighting presentations from last year.

Martin and Sergio present an overview of TRADR as well as ROS packages and tools they've developed in the course of the project. Most of the tools have been released as open source packages. And at the end they present some real world use cases where their robots were helpful.

Video

Abstract

Search and Rescue Robotics is an extremely challenging and broad area of robotics that has recently been experiencing enormous progress. In the last 3 years, the EU project TRADR investigated many aspects of the aforementioned field. With this talk, we would like to share with the ROS community the experience acquired in the development of our system based on advanced use of ROS, in testing and using various hardware, and in dealing with end-users that compose the human-robot teams during search and rescue missions.

Slides

View the slides here

Looking foward to ROSCon 2018 we're highlighting presentations from last year. The ROSCon 2018 registration is currently open. Early registration ends August 11th!

Juan Camilo presents the tips tricks and hacks they have developed for using ROS on the underwater robot Aqua.

Video

Abstract

In this session we will share our experience and describe our approach to learning-based control. We do this for underwater (marine) environments where we want to approximate some of the hydrodynamic factors in 6 degrees of freedom. Our work addresses "learning to swim" via the automatic synthesis of swimming controllers for the AQUA platform: a six legged autonomous underwater vehicle. First, we will describe our approaches for simulating the underwater dynamics of the AQUA robot. This description includes our modelling choices and the integration into the Gazebo simulator. Second, we will describe the software interfaces we developed, based on the ROS framework, for testing learning algorithms in the simulation environment. Finally, we will show how ROS facilitated the use of our software on physical robots, and discuss the current research that our software has enabled.

Slides

View the slides here

ROS Contributor Spotlight: Ian McMahon

As part of our 10-year anniversary, we've selected a few key early contributors and asked them about their experiences with ROS.

Name: Ian McMahon

Company: Rethink Robotics

Favorite Fictional Robot: Probably C-3PO. Despite the fact that he is a worrywart, he always tells the main characters their exact odds of failure.

How did you get into robotics?

I have wanted to work in robotics for nearly as long as I can remember. I found myself intrigued about robotics after watching the Star Wars trilogy on loop for the entire winter holiday when I was about 8 years old. I remember being thoroughly surprised to find out that complex robots like C-3P0 didn't exist (yet) in the real world. Over the years, this interest was fed with the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System with the RCX programmable brick. Then in high school, robotics turned into a full-blown passion of mine through FIRST Robotics. My dad (who is not an engineer) and I started the FIRST Team 1143 Cruzin' Comets in 2002 with the help of the community and three Lockheed Martin engineers who donated their time. After finishing my undergraduate degree in engineering, I came back as the electrical & programming mentor to the team in 2010. Now in its fifteenth year, Team 1143 is still going strong!

What is your current area of ROS development?

I am currently developing the ROS and Gazebo simulator interfaces for Rethink Robotics' Sawyer. These interfaces are used both by Rethink's developers to build Sawyer's Manufacturing software stack, as well as for end-users to program the robot in Research and Education mode. ROS runs down to the core of Rethink's robots: after receiving the state of the robot from the joint control boards, a ROS process then serves as our communication medium with the higher level motion planning framework and behavior tree. Our team wrote a new ROS Client Library for this purpose, which we recently open sourced: rosnodejs. Rethink's behavior tree and user interfaces are based on web technology with JavaScript and Node.js, so we built a new client library to facilitate integrating that technology into our ROS framework. The engineer who leads this development, Chris Smith, actually gave a talk on rosnodejs at ROSCon 2017.


How did you first hear about ROS?

I first heard about ROS from a May 2010 IEEE article outlining the institutions that were selected for the PR2 Beta program. Immediately intrigued by the humanoid PR2 robot, I was also a bit shocked that it was programmed with the completely open source software framework, ROS. As a budding roboticist and open source enthusiast, I was thrilled that both complex robotics and open source code could exist in the same platform. This article came at a critical moment for me as in May 2010 I was in the middle of deciding between schools for my masters degree. I made my grad school choice after seeing that one of the schools on my list, the University of Pennsylvania, was selected for the PR2 Beta program. While at Penn, I focused on visual and haptic perception research with the PR2.

How long have you been working with ROS?

Just about seven and a half years now. After reading about ROS in 2010, I downloaded Box Turtle on my Mac, discovered it was non-trivial to install on anything other than Linux, and installed Ubuntu on my computer for the first time. Discovering that I loved Linux was just a happy side effect of using ROS. Since then, I've used ROS with several platforms over the years, including the PR2, Lego NXT & EV3, Atlas, Baxter and Sawyer robots.

What's your favorite thing about ROS? Least favorite?

Far and away my favorite thing about ROS is the community's ethos of working together rather than against each other on hard robot problems. For far too long, robot software has been developed in isolation, with each new generation of roboticists needing to reinvent the wheel with a monolithic program that does everything. While no individual piece of ROS will give you a fully functional robot software stack, taken together, and massaged a bit, a roboticist can "apt-get install" their way to a viable robotics software architecture, and then spend more time focusing on building their own robot applications. My least favorite aspect of ROS is its lack of support at the embedded layer. Larger robots typically usually use embedded hardware for commanding actuators and reading sensor values before communicating back with a more powerful host computer. Although ROS is fine if you're running on an embedded computer as powerful as a Raspberry Pi, it is not as useful for smaller (16 or 32-bit) microcontrollers. With smaller microcontrollers, ROS' memory and CPU footprint are too large to run properly, which is further compounded by ROS' lack of ability to communicate with the rest of the system in real time. At Rethink we built our own communications protocol to interface with the distributed Joint Control Boards (JCB's) of Baxter and Sawyer. The robot's ROS communication begins only after the JCB data reaches the robot's computer. It would be wonderful to have a lightweight and real time compatible implementation of ROS. I believe this is one of the goals for FastRTPS in ROS 2, to provide system-level ROS communication while running on things as small as 16-bit microcontrollers.

What do you do differently because of ROS? Or How would you do things differently if you didn't have ROS?

ROS and the ROS community touch several aspects of my day-to-day work, so this is actually a tough question. If I didn't have access to ROS, maintaining a complete and fully-featured researcher's interface to the Baxter and Sawyer robots would be significantly more difficult. As it is currently written, I am able to expose some of the same interfaces on Baxter and Sawyer for researchers that the manufacturing software stack uses to control the robot, without modifying much of the robot's source code. This means I can focus my development resources on the open source framework that surrounds and interfaces with the robot (which we call the Intera SDK). I also count on the community resources and tutorials on the ROS Wiki and ROS Answers to explain the underlying mechanisms of communication to users of the Rethink Robots. All too often, I find myself visiting these resources for my own development work.

What has been your favorite ROS-based project you've worked on and why?

My favorite ROS project is MoveIt!. I have worked with the MoveIt! team for the last three years in supporting Baxter and Sawyer. MoveIt! is a motion planning framework that enables complex robot arms to effectively plan arm motion paths in space while avoiding obstacles using sensor data. This framework is generic enough to function on most robot arms and yet complex enough to allow robots to complete tasks akin to the Amazon Picking Challenge. The MoveIt! project is used both in research and in industry through ROS-Industrial. Through its plugin framework, one can swap in different Inverse Kinematics Solvers and Motion Planners, and use a variety of vision sensors. This gives users giant amounts of flexibility to integrate MoveIt! with a new robot. All of this brings robot manipulators closer to being useful in arbitrary real-world scenarios, which every roboticist knows is a tall order.

This is part of an ongoing series: ROS Contributor Spotlight

Have your own ROS story to tell? Let us know at comm@openrobotics.org. And be sure to check back when we celebrate the 25th, 50th, and 100-year anniversaries of ROS.

ROS Contributor Spotlight: Vladimir Ermakov

As part of our 10-year anniversary, we've selected a few key early contributors and asked them about their experiences with ROS.

Name: Vladimir Ermakov

Company: Co-Founder and CEO, GlobeIn

Favorite Fictional Robot: R. Daneel Olivaw; Robert from His name was Robert; Electronic from The adventures of Electronica

How did you get into robotics?

Firstly I was interested by electronics at school, later I was interested in programming, and hobby robotics is the area where both of these interests crossed. Also, science fiction books.

How did you first hear about ROS?

Somewhere on the Internet I'd heard about systems like the Player/Stage Project, and later I learned about ROS when Willow Garage presented the PR2.

What is your current area of ROS development?

Mavros, which is an extendable communication node that allows a ROS system to command hobbyist flying drones. It now also includes ground rovers and underwater robots.


What has been your favorite ROS-based project you've worked on?

I started a hobby project of a flying plane that should have been able to do dynamic path planning. That project didn't succeed, but as a side project, I made a comm node that was later accepted by the ROS community. It's incredible what people have done using my node.


This is part of an ongoing series: ROS Contributor Spotlight

Have your own ROS story to tell? Let us know at comm@openrobotics.org. And be sure to check back when we celebrate the 25th, 50th, and 100-year anniversaries of ROS.

ROS Contributor Spotlight: Tom Moore

The success of ROS depends upon the contributions of thousands of individuals. In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we've decided to shine a light on a few of them.

Name: Tom Moore

Company: Senior Roboticist, Locus Robotics

Favorite Fictional Robot: WALL-E. "I love the bit where he has a cup full of spoons and a cup full of forks, and he's trying to classify a spork as one or the other, and ends up just placing it between the two cups. He also repairs himself using spare parts."

How did you get into robotics?

I was introduced to artificial intelligence, artificial life, and robotics as an undergraduate student. The thing that really got me with robotics was the idea of embodied AI, and the fact that this autonomous agent was moving around in the same world as I was, perceiving and affecting it in the same way (or, in many cases, just running into things). I spent a lot of time with the university's Pioneer 2, watching it drive around our computer science lab and try to generate rudimentary maps using its sonar sensors. When I decided to go to grad school, it was an easy decision as to what my focus would be.

What is your current area of ROS development? On which robot?

In the wider ROS ecosystem, I tend to focus on state estimation, though I like to chip in with occasional PRs to some of the ROS tools. I also am trying to get involved in ROS 2 development. Within Locus, I work within a lot of areas, from state estimation to navigation to the odd bit of ROS build farm maintenance. Our primary platform at Locus is known as the LocusBot, and pretty much all of my time is spent working with it.


What are your favorite and least favorite things about ROS?

If I had to choose just one thing, I think ROS bags are fantastic. The ability to replay live data is absolutely critical for development, especially in scenarios where you are having trouble replicating a bug. As soon as you manage to replicate it while recording, you can rapidly diagnose and fix the problem. My least favorite thing about ROS is that supporting a large number of robots in a multi-robot scenario is a challenge, but that's going to be addressed in ROS 2!

What would you like to change about ROS?

My answer will be a little hypocritical, as it's something of which I am definitely guilty. As ROS has matured and its user base has shifted from academia to industry, I find that most packages are slow to implement significant code changes or accept pull requests, especially those that might cause incompatibilities with older versions. I'm assuming that, as is the case for me, most package maintainers are too busy with their jobs to spend a significant portion of time maintaining packages. This is a good thing, in a way, because it means that those package authors and maintainers are too busy making a living using ROS to devote time to their packages. It can lead to a sense of things getting a bit stale, though. I think more of us need to take the time to bring in new developers and maintainers for our packages.

How would you have do things differently if you didn't have ROS?

Where do I start? When I started working in robotics, every grad student or company seemed to be reinventing the wheel for everything. Worse, this problem would even persist across projects within the same organization. I used to write a lot of monolithic processes whose classes were analogous to ROS nodes. Want to visualize your data? Hack something together quickly using a language with a simple drawing library. Want to replay the data? Too bad! You have to recreate that bug using a live robot and hope that you trigger it this time, and then sift through your insane debugging logs to figure out what's wrong. This wasn't the case everywhere (I worked for one company that had independently developed their own very ROS-like inter-process comms), but I think it was pretty common.

With ROS, I can fire up a powerful visualization tool and instantly see what's happening with the robot, or give it a command to drive somewhere. I can record and replay data to my heart's content. I can distribute my processes and give them very specific roles, and then easily swap out that component for another one as the software matures. It moves the starting line for any serious robotics project ahead by years.


This is part of an ongoing series: ROS Contributor Spotlight

Have your own ROS story to tell? Let us know at comm@openrobotics.org. And be sure to check back when we celebrate the 25th, 50th, and 100-year anniversaries of ROS.

ROS Contributor Spotlight: Allison Thackston

The success of ROS depends upon the contributions of thousands of individuals. In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we've decided to shine a light on a few of them.


Name: Allison Thackston

Company: Principal Research Scientist, Toyota Research Institute

Favorite Fictional Robot: R2-D2. "He was always looking out for Luke and seemed to always have the right tool."

How did you get into robotics?

I've always enjoyed the idea of robots helping people. I have fond memories of programming Logo when I was a kid, and of watching movies with robots in them.

How did you first hear about ROS?

I first heard about ROS when I began working at NASA on the Robonaut project. When Robonaut was given the opportunity to receive an upgrade, the team took advantage and upgraded the entire software stack. Now, a ROS-enabled robot is orbiting the earth in the International Space Station.

What is your current area of ROS development?

I currently work across many ROS packages. Toyota's Human Support Robot (HSR) is currently built on top of ROS. It's also the standard platform for the RoboCup@Home tournament and available for universities to participate


What are your favorite and least favorite things about ROS?

My favorite thing about ROS is how easy it is to collaborate using it, especially with the research community. A lot of the things I would change are being addressed in ROS 2: more reliable communications, and better control of messaging.

How would you have do things differently if you didn't have ROS?

With ROS I'm able to easily get a robot up and running. If I didn't have it I would have to either recreate my own version, or create a custom stack for each robot.


This is part of an ongoing series: ROS Contributor Spotlight

Have your own ROS story to tell? Let us know at comm@openrobotics.org. And be sure to check back when we celebrate the 25th, 50th, and 100-year anniversaries of ROS.

Mike Purvis (Clearpath Robotics) Robust Deployment with ROS Bundles

Looking foward to ROSCon 2017 we're highlighting presentations from last year. The ROSCon 2017 registration is currently open.

Mike Purvis presents how to build bundles and use them for deploying robots with ROS software.

Video

Abstract

Late in 2015, Clearpath was facing a deployment crisis, with software in various states going to customer sites, off-site demos, in-house demos & testing, and developer workstations. There was a build-up of cultural issues and technical limitations in the existing tooling. The solution to all of these issues has been to build the entirety of our robot's software in a single large workspace (using catkintools), and then ship the whole thing as one "fat" deb package. Lessons learned will be presented, along with a brief example of building a customized desktopfull bundle for Ubuntu - this should be sufficient to kickstart the efforts of anyone else who'd like to set up a similar build. The demonstration will highlight in particular our contributions to upstream ROS tooling which have been made in the course of this development work, hopefully merged in coming months

Slides

View the slides here

Looking foward to ROSCon 2017 we're highlighting presentations from last year. The ROSCon 2017 registration is currently open.

In this session Alejandro presents robot_blockly as an approach to make programming robots more accessible.

Video

Abstract

robot_blockly is a ROS package that allows users to create ROS-based algorithms and behaviors, abstracting its complexity using blocks. The aim of the package is to hide the complexity of programming robots via functional blocks. As a rule of thumb, an average PhD student takes 3 weeks to learn ROS. This makes ROS programming not accessible for the great majority. The robot_blockly package aims to simplify the process of using ROS to the point of putting conceptual blocks together.

Slides

View the slides here

Niharika Arora (Fetch Robotics): Robot calibration

Looking foward to ROSCon 2017 we're highlighting presentations from last year. The ROSCon 2017 call for proposals is currently open as well as registration.

In this session Niharika Arora from gives an overview of how Fetch Robotics calibrates their robots using robot_calibration

Video

Abstract

Calibration is an essential prerequisite for nearly any robot. We have created a fast, accurate and robot­agnostic calibration system, which calibrates robot geometry in addition to the typical camera intrinsics and/or extrinsics. The system can be used with a variety of feature detectors to update the cost function and uses the CERES optimizer for the convex optimization. The system then creates an updated URDF containing the calibrated parameters. This talk will cover the details of the robot­agnostic robot_calibration package and describe its use in the fetch_calibration package which can calibrate dozens of parameters on a Fetch robot in as little as 3 minutes.

Slides

View the slides here

ROS Summer School in Aachen (August 2017)

From Patrick Wiesen via ROS Discourse

After 6 successful ROS Summer Schools we are offering another one this year at our University of Applied Sciences in Aachen (Germany). The event is planned from 14th August till 25th August 2017. Everyone who is interested in learning ROS is invited to register now! A limited funding for International students for this event is offered by the DAAD.

In the two weeks we are handling the following topics of mobile robotics more in detail: ROS Basics, Communication, Hardware Interfacing, Teleoperation, Transforms, Gazebo Simulation, Landmark Detection, Localization, Mapping, Navigation, Control, some Industrial exhibition and so on and so on. . . Of course all these topics can be experienced on real hardware using our mobile robots after learning the theory.

And if this is still not enough for you, we offer an additional ROS UAV weekend afterwards from 26th to 27th of August. This will include assembling UAVs, first flight setup, flight modes, ROS interfacing, Landmark Detection and getting in touch with autonomous flying. Feel free to choose this option in our application form. Application form, more information, photos and videos can be found on our homepage:

ROS Summer School FH Aachen

All is organized by MASCOR. The ROS Summer School is designed to teach participants about how to get started with ROS; it is created for those who have had an interest in autonomous systems, but didn't quite know how to get started. With that, organizers recommend students have a basic knowledge of Linux (Ubuntu) and one programming language such as Python or C++. The two-week program is made possible through Mobile Autonomous Systems and Cognitive Robotics (MASCOR).

2017 University Rover Challenge robots using ROS

From Lucas Walter via ROS Discourse

I saw ROS tools or heard mentions of ROS in many of the URC CDR videos that were uploaded a few weeks ago, this is a playlist of them:

I could have easily missed more instances in the other videos:

It's interesting to see all the variations on the rocker bogie suspension system, and there are a handful of exceptions that use more novel approaches (though more of them need to show off the rovers going up or down a real incline and over rough terrain).

http://urc.marssociety.org/home/team-info

Actin-ROS Interface

From Neil Tardella

Actin is a powerful commercial control and simulation framework used in several industrial and government robotic systems. Energid, the developer of Actin, is now providing a ROS Kinetic stack and a ROS plugin base class for Actin that supports Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Actin now also includes URDF reader support in Linux builds.

The open source ActinROS code is available on Github at the following link:

https://github.com/Energid/ActinROS

The repository includes plugins and example applications for using Actin with ROS. A lightweight version of Actin ships with Robai Cyton robots.

TUT-RIM: Collaborative Intelligent Heavy Machinery and Robotics

From Eero Heinänen

The TUTRIM project was motivated by the possibilities to increase productivity and safety at worksites by using autonomous mobile robots. With cooperation between four departments of Tampere University of Technology (Intelligent Hydraulics and Automation, Automation Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Systems, Signal Processing) we implemented an unsupervised, autonomous multi-robot worksite in the domain of civil engineering.

The main task was to get the independent, autonomous and heterogeneous robots to cooperate to achieve a common goal in a partially known environment. For this purpose ROS was a reasonable choice as it enables different communication types to be used and it acts as an abstraction layer in the message exchange between dissimilar robots. Also, we used ROS Industrial to integrate one industrial robot to the system. Other components of the worksite are a wheel loader, a micro aerial vehicle and a kinect-based localization system at the industrial robot station.

For more information please see: http://vision.cs.tut.fi/projects/tutrim/index.html

From André Araújo

We are pleased to announce the 2nd edition the international summer course RobotCraft 2017: Robotics Craftsmanship International Academy, from 3rd of July until 3rd September, in Coimbra, Portugal. Besides providing a general overview of the science and art behind robotics and teaching the basis, the course have a strong component of ROS, starting from the integration of the developed mobile robot during the course, to the high level AI routines implementation in ROS.

In the 1st version, RobotCraft 2016,

we hosted 65 students coming from all over the world, from different nationalities, with distinct formation fields and degrees, from BSc to PhD students.

The robotics international school is organized by Ingeniarius, Ltd in association with Faculty of Sciences and Technology of University of Coimbra, and the Robotics Group from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department,

The course will promote:

  • Concepts and theorems for the introduction to robotics, describing the history of robotics and its evolution;

  • Understand the potential use of ROS framework;

  • Integration of the developed mobile robot in ROS;

  • Development of multi-robots and AI algorithms in ROS;

  • Acquire C/C++ programming skills;

  • Acquire basic 3D modelling and printing concepts, applied in the design of robotic platforms;

  • Acquire basic electromechanical concepts, applied in the development of robotic platforms;

  • Understand the potential use of Atmel microcontrollers, using the Arduino platform;

  • Understand the use of sensors (e.g., range finders, encoders, cameras) and actuators (e.g., servo motors, stepper motors, DC motors) used in robotics;

  • Explore and apply the concepts of networks and different communications architectures to robotics;

  • Explore and apply concepts of artificial intelligence in robotics;

  • Consolidate concepts learned during the modules for the full design of a mobile robotic platform, including 3D design, electromechanical assembly, low-level and high-level programming, and artificial intelligence.

For more info please check, http://robotcraft.ingeniarius.pt/ .

See you soon in Coimbra!

Towards ROS-native drones

From Medium:

Announcing alpha support for the PX4 flight stack in a path towards drones that speak ROS natively

The drones field is an interesting one to analyze from a robotics perspective. While capable flying robots are reasonably new, RC-hobbyists have been around for a much longer time building flying machines developing communities around the so called flight stacks or software autopilots.

Among these, there're popular options such as the Paparazzi, the APM (commonly known as ardupilot) or the PX4. These autopilots matured to the point of acquiring autonomous capabilities and turning these flying machines into actual drones. Many of these open source flight stacks provide a general codebase for building basic drone behaviors however modifications are generally needed when one has the intention of tackling traditional problems in robotics such as navigation, mapping, obstacle avoidance and so on. These modifications are not straightforward when performed directly in the autopilot code thereby, in an attempt to enhance (or sometimes just simplify) the capabilities of autopilots, abstraction layers such as DroneKit started appearing.

For a roboticist however, the common language is the Robot Operating System (ROS). Getting ROS to talk to these flight stacks natively would require a decent amount of resources and effort thereby, generally, roboticists use a bridge such as the mavros ROS package to talk to the flight stacks.

We at Erle Robotics have been offering services with flying robots using such architecture but we've always wondered what would be the path towards a ROS-native drone. In order to explore this possibility we've added support for the PX4 Pro flight stack. 


Supporting the PX4 Pro flight stack

The PX4 Pro drone autopilot is an open source (BSD) flight control solution for drones that can "fly anything from a racing to a cargo drone?--?be it a multi copter, plane or VTOL". PX4 has been built with a philosophy similar to ROS, composed by different software blocks where each one of these modules communicates using a publish/subscribe architecture (currently, a simplified pub/sub middleware called uORB).

In an internal attempt to research the path of getting ROS-native flight stacks and to open up this work to the community I'm happy to announce official alpha support for the PX4 Pro in all our products meant for developers such as the PXFmini, Erle-Brain 2 or Erle-Copter. Our team has put together a new set of Operating System images for our products that will help you switch between flight stacks easily.

To install PX4 Pro, just type the following:

sudo apt-get purge -y apm-* # e.g.: apm-copter-erlebrain 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install px4-erle-robotics


ROS-native flight stacks 

Using the PX4 Pro flight stack as a starting point, our team will be dedicating resources to prototype the concept of a drone autopilot that speaks ROS natively, that is, that uses ROS nodes to abstract each submodule within the autopilot's logic (attitude estimator, position control, navigator, ...) and ROS topics/services to communicate with the rest of the blocks within the autopilot. Ultimately, this initiative should deliver a software autopilot capable of creating a variety of drones that merges nicely with all the traditional ROS interfaces that roboticists have been building for over a decade now. 

If you're interested in participating with this initiative, reach us out at http://erlerobotics.com/blog/contact/.

ros-china-summer-school.png

In 2015, the East China Normal University organized the first ROS summer school in China, Shanghai, providing a quick and in-depth learning opportunity for both ROS beginners and advanced ROS users. Now in 2016 the event is happening and we're happy to present the ROS Summer School in China 2016 sponsored by East China Normal University in Shanghai.

According to the organizers:

Robot companies in China have realized the importance of ROS and began building their robot products using the meta operating system. However, learning the ROS framework and its associated components involves a quite a few multidisciplinary concepts, which not only requires developers to have software programming skills, but also to be familiar with robot hardware and even understanding the background of specific industrial applications.

Below is the outline of the program.

  • Day 1. Academic research talks and tutorials.
  • Day 2. Representatives from industry share their experiences on application development using ROS.
  • Day 3. Some introductory ROS courses for beginners.
  • Day 4. Learning how to integrate ROS with mobile autonomous robots.
  • Day 5. Some advanced topics in ROS.
  • Day 6. The topic in computer vision.
  • Day 7. Lectures in SLAM.

ROS training is something we all should be interested in and it seems to be pretty hot in China recently. The fact that the Robot Operating System gains adepts benefits us all so if you happen to be in Shanghai this July, register for the event and stop by the East China Normal University to learn more about ROS!

From Mohammad Salameh

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ROBOT OPERATING SYSTEM (ROS) WORKSHOP

Recently, ROS (Robot Operating System) has been increasing in popularity around the world and rapidly becoming a de facto standard for writing interoperable and reusable robot software. It provides libraries and tools to help software developers and researchers create robot applications. ROS is being used for many of the world's most exciting and capable robots, such as in industry and entertainment. Besides, developers can learn and gain access freely to the comprehensive developer community and support forum.

The ROS workshop at M-CAIT 2016 will primarily talks participants how to use ROS in their robotics research and development works. Both simulation and with real robot namely Turtlebot will be used to gain some hands-on experience on the ROS. The workshop is designed for beginners and professionals providing basic and intermediate concepts of how the ROS works such as autonomous robot navigation for SLAM, visualization and programming. Thus in this case no previous research or ROS experience is required.

AUDIENCE

Academics, research students and engineers at all levels who wish to learn about Robotics Operating System (ROS). Students and researchers involve in computer vision, controlling system and robotics especially in autonomous navigation, will find this workshop helpful.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

  1. Introduction and overview to ROS
  2. Using ROS simulation
  3. Using ROS on Turtlebot for SLAM
  4. Understanding ROS programming framework

WORKSHOP REQUIREMENTS AND MATERIALS

This is a hands-on robotics workshop focusing from the basic to intermediate ROS levels. Participants will get presentation slides, ROS software and its tools.

PRE-REQUISITES

The audience is expected to bring a notebook and 8GB USB flash drive for hands-on experience.

In order to make the most of your time at M-CAIT 2016 ROS workshop, it is necessary to come to the sessions prepared and ready to start. Please download the following software or information:

However, everyone should feel welcome to attend regardless of whether or not they have ROS installed for themselves.

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From OSRF

Michael Ferguson spent a year as a software engineer at Willow Garage, helping rewrite the ROS calibration system, among other projects. In 2013, he co-founded Unbounded Robotics, and is currently the CTO of Fetch Robotics. At Fetch, Michael is one of the primary people responsible for making sure that Fetch's robots reliably fetch things. Mike's ROSCon talk is about how to effectively use ROS as an integral part of your robotics business, including best practices, potential issues to avoid, and how you should handle open source and intellectual property.

Because of how ROS works, much of your software development (commercial or otherwise) is dependent on many external packages. These packages are constantly being changed for the better -- and sometimes for the worse -- at unpredictable intervals that are completely out of your control. Using continuous integration, consisting of systems that can handle automated builds, testing, and deployment, can help you catch new problems as early as possible. Michael also shares that a useful way to avoid new problems is to not immediately switch over to new software as soon as they are available: instead, stick with long-term support releases, such as Ubuntu 14.04 and ROS Indigo.

While the foundation of ROS is built on open source, using ROS doesn't mean that all of the software magic that you create for your robotics company has to be given away for free. ROS supports many different kinds of licenses, some of which your lawyers will be more happy with than others, but there are enough options with enough flexibility that it doesn't have to be an issue. Using Fetch Robotics as an example, Mike discusses what components of ROS his company uses in their commercial products, including ROS Navigation and MoveIt. With these established packages as a base, Fetch was able to quickly put together operational demos, and then iterate on an operating platform by developing custom plugins optimized for their specific use cases.

When considering how to use ROS as part of your company, it's important to look closely at the packages you decide to incorporate, to make sure that they have a friendly license, good documentation, recent updates, built-in tests, and a standardized interface. Keeping track of all of this will make your startup life easier in the long run. As long as you're careful, relying on ROS can make your company more agile, more productive, and ready to make a whole bunch of money off of the future of robotics.

Next up: Ryan Gariepy (Clearpath Robotics)

Shadow Robot - looking for a new Software Engineer

Job description The role of software engineers at Shadow Robot Ltd is to advance robotic systems, by implementing new solutions and algorithms, in order to realize complex tasks with a complex robots. Think about all the knowledge and skills a human requires to lift a simple glass of water, and try to imagine how you'd implement that with a highly sophisticated robotic system.

Should you join our team your job would center on solving real world problems using robotics. We work on highly challenging and stimulating problems to deliver new solutions using advanced robotic systems. The job is quite versatile, ranging from driver development, to more high level cognition. Being part of a team of highly skilled individuals, we always strive to make you work on what you're best at.

Overall your goal will be making our robotic systems more reliable and easier to use for our customers.

Company We're a small central London based company formed in 1987 with a well established reputation for developing top end robotic systems. Our core product is our robotic Hand, but we're also involved in a list of Robotics based projects for research, nuclear, MOD, space and other applications.

We're a close knit team, all passionate about robotics and will be happy to share our knowledge in different domains, ranging from electronics to manufacturing.

Shadow's mission is to use robotics technology to solve real-world problems.

Skills:

Must have:

  • highly proficient in C++ or python
  • good knowledge of programming under Linux

Nice to have:

  • previous experience or keen interest in robotics
  • previous experience using ROS

Experience:

  • minimum 2 years programming experience.

Contact toni@shadowrobot.com www.shadowrobot.com

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