AI News, Robot Operating System Making Its Way Into Industrial Robotics

Robot Operating System Making Its Way Into Industrial Robotics

There are a lot of contenders in the race to become the dominant software platform for robots.

By making your software open source, you can reduces barrier to acceptance to a minimum, helping it to spread faster.

In industrial robotics, Ifeel that lots of people are constantly reinventing the wheel, with different robot manufacturers developing their own proprietary operating system and controller.

And it's also been tied to manufacturing, where everybody is trying to keep their edge on new ways to make better products at better prices using advanced technologies.

As I pointed out in an article about the stagnation of industrial robotics, the proprietary operating system is an important piece of the business model that industrial robot makers rely on.

It was a nice surprise to hear that the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), a private RDorganization based in San Antonio, Texas, announced recently that they've reached an agreement with Motoman, one of the largest industrial robot makers in the world, to develop a ROS interface for the Motoman SIA20 7-axis robot [CAD image and photo above].

Robot Operating System

Despite the importance of reactivity and low latency in robot control, ROS, itself, is not a real-time OS (RTOS), though it is possible to integrate ROS with real-time code.[2] The lack of support for real-time systems is being addressed in the creation of ROS 2.0.[3] Software in the ROS Ecosystem[4] can be separated into three groups: Both the language-independent tools and the main client libraries (C++, Python, and Lisp) are released under the terms of the BSD license, and as such are open source software and free for both commercial and research use.

For these client libraries, Ubuntu Linux is listed as 'Supported' while other variants such as Fedora Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows are designated 'Experimental' and are supported by the community.[9] The native Java ROS client library, rosjava, however, does not share these limitations and has enabled ROS-based software to be written for the Android OS.[10] rosjava has also enabled ROS to be integrated into an officially-supported MATLAB toolbox which can be used on Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.[11] A JavaScript client library, roslibjs has also been developed which enables integration of software into a ROS system via any standards-compliant web browser.

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