Advanced science.  Applied technology.


ROS-Industrial Americas Consortium celebrates 10th annual meeting at Automate 2023

May 22, 2023 — The ROS-Industrial Americas Consortium, a project dedicated to advancing open-source robotics for manufacturing and industry, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on May 25 at its annual meeting in Detroit.

The event will correspond with the Automate 2023 show, the largest automation showcase in North America, creating an exciting atmosphere for ROS-Industrial members to reflect on the organization’s history while also setting the stage for innovation in the years to come.

The ROS-Industrial open-source project began as a collaboration among Yaskawa Motoman Robotics, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Willow Garage to integrate the robot operating system (ROS) into manufacturing automation. The ROS-Industrial software repository, hosted on GitHub, was founded in 2012 by Shaun Edwards, a former SwRI staff member.

“When we first envisioned the idea, we never perceived that it would gain worldwide interest and become as important to the ROS ecosystem as it is now,” said Edwards, who went on to co-found Plus One Robotics. “ROS-Industrial is now one of the leading sources of advancements of robotics capability for industrial automation around the world.”

In March of 2013, when ROS-Industrial held its first meeting at SwRI in San Antonio, there were 14 member organizations. Today, membership has expanded to over 85 organizations representing a broad range of industries and academic institutions. ROS-Industrial has also expanded to include member consortia in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, attracting members globally.

“I was inspired to join SwRI and carry the torch as the ROS-I Consortium manager after witnessing, in an end-user role, what ROS-I could do to enable robots to perform more diverse tasks and grow advanced manufacturing capabilities,” said Matt Robinson, an SwRI engineer who manages the ROS-Industrial Americas Consortium. “It is a privilege and honor to support the consortium, the dedicated member base and the open-source community.”

Today, ROS-Industrial is a repository of open-source robotics software tools that are regularly updated and customized, advancing the state of the art of industrial robotics and enabling robots to perform new and diverse tasks. Members have access to a range of tools and activities, such as technical road-mapping, workforce development and developer meetings. Focused technical projects benefit the consortium and the community while supporting growth of the software repository.

During its 10th annual meeting in Detroit this week, ROS-Industrial Americas will conceptualize the next 10 years to enable robots to help humans in ways never previously imagined. Members will engage with end-users, OEMs, solution providers and researchers on open-source, interoperable, agile software capabilities.

“The software has become popular among developers thanks to its modular framework, enabling users to quickly access the latest updates with best-of-class software capabilities like AI and 3D sensing or point cloud libraries,” said Paul Evans, a research director at SwRI who supported the consortia’s founding in 2012. “The architecture itself helps bridge capabilities across manufacturing, pulling in AI solutions, machine learning, path planning and other features that add process knowledge to robot controls.”

A major part of ROS Industrial’s success is its people, particularly communities of developers who share technical capabilities and integration solutions with active in-person meetings and events around the world.

SwRI, one of the curators of the open-source repositories, works closely with other ROS-Industrial coordinators such as Fraunhofer IPA in Germany (ROS-Industrial Consortium Europe) in addition to the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Center (ARTC) in Singapore (ROS-Industrial Asia-Pacific).

“There are so many layers to our vibrant community, ranging from coordinating organizations to the members and global developers who wish to contribute to the open-source software tools,” said Robinson. “Our global developer network continuously improves and enhances new robotics capabilities.”

ROS-Industrial has also been instrumental in helping to advance ROS 2, the latest generation of the robot operating system. During this week’s events, ROS-Industrial members will engage on the strategy for how ROS-Industrial capability is shaped, particularly with the latest developments around ROS 2.

For more information, visit or ROS-Industrial or contact Robert Crowe+1 210 522 4630, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.