ROS-Industrial is a new, open-source software project focused on bringing advanced robotics research to real-world manufacturing applications. SwRI initiated the ROS-Industrial Consortium (RIC) to foster the development of enabling robotic technologies in areas such as material handling, assembly, and surface processing.
How is ROS-Industrial Different?
ROS-Industrial is a direct bridge between proven industrial systems and the development tools, community, and software libraries of the Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS is revolutionizing robotics research by providing a common framework for collaboration. ROS-Industrial will extend ROS to enable manufacturing capabilities that are not currently possible. The tie to ROS.org enables software reuse for rapid development while providing access to the latest robotics research.
What Kind of Development Is Being Funded?
The consortium will focus on enabling technologies for new industrial robotic applications. Pre-competitive and broadly applicable development projects are planned. The members direct RIC technical activities, and development activities are expected to include:
- Standard software interfaces to enable interoperability between existing and new hardware/software.
- Tools for development, maintenance, integration, and configuration.
- Focused Technical Projects to meet specific near-term automation needs of participating members
How Will It Work?
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), a non-profit applied R&D organization, will administer the consortium. Members will direct the program development activities and benefit from access to the program results. Annual meetings will be held to present results and plan for future activities.
The Consortium fees are used to support overhead consortium services like training, technical support, and organizing consortium meetings. New ROS-Industrial capabilities are funded primarily through Focused Technical Projects whose cost is shared among participating members. Members may participate in as many of these projects as they wish, and there is no minimum obligation.
ROS-Industrial software is open-sourced under the business-friendly BSD license. An open-source solution benefits members by engaging a broader community to test, debug, and extend the work of the program, leveraging member investments. Because RIC work is foundational and pre-competitive, broader community engagement expands the program scope and reach. However, the test results, data, recommendations, and analysis generated by the RIC create a competitive advantage for its members and are protected from public disclosure for a period of time.
The initial goals for ROS-Industrial focus on cross-platform support for as many industrial manipulators and peripherals as possible so that the advanced capabilities of ROS are available for industrial automation. The longer term vision is to build in new capabilities that meet broad industry needs, such as those depicted in this image (click for full scale).
What are the Expected Results?
End-users and robotics industry suppliers can expect two significant benefits. First, the development of interface standards and software tools will lower the cost of system integration. The standards will enable interoperability of hardware and software and the tools will focus on development efficiency and automating time-consuming tasks. Second, enabling technologies will increase the industrial automation market by addressing needs that currently have no practical solutions.
Benefits Exclusive to Members
- Seat on the Consortium Advisory Committee
- Set priorities for membership-fee-funded research
- Eligible to sponsor and participate in Focused Technical Projects
- Access to project data and technical reports arising from consortiumâ€™s Focused Technical Projects
- Live technical support from experts in ROS, robotics, and general industrial automation
- Attendance at all events
- Annual training classes
- Participation in annual program review meetings
- Networking opportunities with colleagues, customers, vendors, and end-users
- Early access to the latest research in industrial robotics
The consortium is currently enrolling members. The first consortium year starts January 1, 2013.
For more information about benefits or about joining the consortium, contact Shaun Edwards at email@example.com or (210) 522-3277.
- ROS-Industrial Userâ€™s web page provides installation instructions and tutorials on ROS-Industrial.
- ROS-Industrial Developerâ€™s web page provides guidance for writing code and developing new applications.
- ROS-Industrial General Info web page
ROS-Industrial Consortium • RIC • robot software • robot consortium • Robot Operating System • ROS • open source