2013 IR&D Annual Report

ROS-Industrial Strategic Technology Development, 10-R8335

Principal Investigator
Shaun Edwards

Inclusive Dates: 09/17/12 – Current

Background — In a previous internal research effort, SwRI worked closely with Robot Operating System (ROS) developers at Willow Garage to develop an open source ROS-Industrial software stack (software suite) to support the use of ROS for industrial applications. The technology developed under this previous effort brought the use of powerful ROS capabilities, such as advanced perception and path/grasp planning, to industrial robotics applications.

Since the completion of the previous project, the ROS-Industrial open-source program has attracted significant interest in the industrial robotics community. Two examples of this interest are the growth of the open-source development community and the formation of the ROS-Industrial Consortium. The open-source community has grown to include a worldwide network of commercial, independent and government labs working toward a common goal of enabling advanced industrial robotics and automation through open-source development. The ROS-Industrial Consortium was formed and its first membership meeting was held in March 2013. The goal of the consortium is to provide commercial investment and input into the ROS-Industrial program. Specifically, the consortium will jointly fund technology development through focused technical projects.

The objective of the ROS-Industrial Strategic Technology Development effort is to continue technology development, expanding the capabilities of ROS-Industrial, while supporting the consortium and open source community.

Approach — The approach of the ROS-Industrial technical effort is to expand its capabilities through continued software development both at SwRI and through external development teams, as well as demonstrate real-world applications. Specifically this effort will:

  • Provide guidance to the ROS-Industrial open source community, outlining developmental efforts for external teams.
  • Expand the ROS-Industrial driver set, providing compatibility and interoperability with major industrial robot vendors.
  • Integrate advanced path planning and perception algorithms with a focus on those that are useful in industrial applications, such as machining and painting.
  • Demonstrate ROS-Industrial in multiple real-world applications through cooperation with commercial companies.

The software developed under this effort will be released open source under the ROS-Industrial program.

Accomplishments — The project has completed the following milestones:

  • The ROS-Industrial software has grown, with many contributions coming from external development teams in the open-source community.
  • The ROS-Industrial software now supports most major industrial robot vendor platforms. This capability was demonstrated at the Automate tradeshow in early 2013.
  • Integration of ROS-Industrial with the MoveIt Library, which provides advanced path planning capabilities with close integration of 2D/3D perception.
The ROS-Industrial program recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. This video montage shows the results of programs from around the world using ROS-Industrial.
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