ROS, an open-source project, provides a common framework for robotics applications. ROS is heavily utilized by the research community for service robotics applications, but its technology can be applied to other application areas, including industrial robotics. ROS capabilities, such as advanced perception and path/grasp planning, can enable industrial robotic applications that were previously technically infeasible or cost prohibitive.
SwRI utilized ROS for several industrial and advanced manufacturing projects. Its use enabled rapid development and reduced costs.
The ROS-Industrial program:
- Is supported by a community of industrial robotics researchers and professionals.
- Provides a one-stop location for industry-related ROS software.
- Possesses software robustness and reliability that meets the needs of industrial applications.
- Does not replace any one technology entirely, rather it combines the relative strengths of ROS and existing technology, combining ROS high-level functionality with the low-level reliability and safety of an industrial robot controller.
- Stimulates the development of hardware-agnostic software by standardizing interfaces.
- Provides an "easy" path to apply cutting-edge research to industrial applications by using a common ROS architecture.
- Provides simple, easy-to-use, well-documented application programming interfaces.
ROS Industrial Benefits
The ROS-Industrial stack:
Leverages powerful functionality within ROS:
- Custom inverse kinematics for manipulators, including solutions for manipulators with greater than six degrees-of-freedom.
- Advanced 2-D (image) and 3-D (point cloud) perception.
- Rich toolset for development, simulation, and visualization.
Enables new applications
- Unstructured applications that include advanced perception for identifying robot work pieces as opposed to hard tooling.
- Completely dynamic path planning based upon advanced perception and models as opposed to simply replaying taught paths.
- Model-based approaches that permit automated programming for thousands of unique CAD parts.
Simplifies robot programming to the task level
- Eliminates path planning and teaching. Collision-free, optimal paths are automatically calculated given path end points.
- Applying abstract programming principles to similar tasks (useful in low-volume applications or with slight variations in work pieces).
- Open-source software used and supported by the community. Preferred open-source licenses (i.e., BSD license) allow commercial use without restrictions.
- Reducing manufacturer "lock-in" by standardizing robot and sensor interfaces across many industrial platforms.
- ROS-Industrial Open-Source Software Web page provides installation instructions and tutorials for new users.
- The ROS-Industrial Consortium web page has information for partners who would like to be involved in the continued development of ROS-Industrial. The page also has information about the specific benefits enjoyed by consortium members.
- The ROS Software wiki page provides detailed information on the ROS software on which ROS-Industrial is based.
- ROS-Industrial is released under the business-friendly BSD license.