For immediate release
San Antonio – Aug. 2, 2016 – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) today announced the creation of the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia (RIC-Asia) through a memorandum of understanding between SwRI and the Singapore-based Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
SwRI initiated the development of ROS-Industrial in 2012 through an SwRI internal research program conducted with industry collaborators. This open-source project extends the advanced capabilities of the Robot Operating System (ROS) software to manufacturing. The ROS-Industrial Consortia — with branches in the Americas, Europe, and now Asia — provide cost-shared applied research and development for advanced factory automation. Consortia members drive new capabilities in ROS-I by championing focused technical projects based on their near-term automation requirements.
RIC-Asia will also get support from the European Consortium, managed by Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, and started in 2014. In addition to member-led initiatives, the European Consortium acquires EU public funding for the advancement of ROS-I to make it complementary, rather than alternative, to government-led initiatives such as Industrie 4.0.
“We are excited to have a talented, multilingual team of experts in Singapore who are advancing robotics research throughout Asia in collaboration with researchers around the world,” said SwRI’s Paul Hvass, who manages RIC-Americas. “The newest consortium managers are strategically located in the Asia-Pacific region where they can serve both small and large companies looking for competitive advantages in manufacturing and industrial applications.”
Supported by the international consortia, SwRI maintains a ROS-Industrial repository that provides interfaces for common industrial manipulators, grippers, sensors, and device networks. It also provides software libraries for automatic sensor calibration, process path/motion planning, applications like Scan-N-Plan, developer tools like the Qt Creator ROS Plugin, and manufacturing-based training curriculum.
“Advanced robotics have historically been cost prohibitive for manufacturing in some Asian countries,” Hvass said. “As an open-source platform, we see ROS-I as a game changer for small and medium enterprises that have been priced out of robotics software for factory layout and design.”
SwRI is an independent, nonprofit applied research and development organization specializing in transferring fundamental research to create applied technology to solve client problems. SwRI maintains the ROS-Industrial software repository and manages the ROS-Industrial Consortium.
Singapore-based ARTC is a private-public partnership consortium that develops remanufacturing and manufacturing technologies with industry partners. With a purpose-built facility, underpinned with world class research expertise at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and NTU, ARTC rapidly creates solutions and brings these technologies into industrial production capabilities to the benefit of all its stakeholders.