Part 1, Updates and New Strategic Initiatives for the ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas

This is the first installment in a series of updates and strategic initiatives by the various ROS-Industrial Consortia. Though these may appear to be regional differences, the aim is still to leverage ROS-Industrial global support to realize improved capability and performance of ROS-Indsutrial applications and tools. In the near term, based on complimentary initaitives, such as the ARM Institute in the United States, and ROSIN in the EU, some variation by region may emerge to enable efficient leverage of these initiatives and reduce any redundancy in effort.

Part 1, Updates and New Strategic Initiatives for the ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas

Recently ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas Leadership, along with review, and consultation, with the global ROS-Industrial leadership, presented to the Americas Consortium Advisory Council a number of proposed changes to the agreement, and for feedback on proposed strategic initiatives.

The most interesting and meaningful changes are:

  1. Start-Up Classification - Start-ups have expressed interest in joining the Consortium, but see the current classifications as prohibitive due to cost. The benefits will be the same as associate. This reduced rate for start-ups is to enable greater start-up community engagement with the Consortium and to ensure their voices are represented in the technical and strategic roadmaps. The rate will be \$2500/Year, and will be limited to four years of age of company and 40 technical staff in size.

  2. In-Kind Contributions - Clarification on In-kind contributions related to FTP projects; Specify upfront during proposal development in-kind contributions as deliverables by team members, and leave out of formal proposal as costed tasks to be completed. The contribution becomes a deliverable by that team. No cost is included in any of the costing/dollars associated. All parties accept what is considered in-kind and ROS-I Technical personnel will be responsible for the assessment of the contribution related to meeting the deliverable, i.e. realizing the value.

    In-kind in hardware can be accepted if it is relevant to the scope of work as stated in the Proposal and all participants agree in accepting the in-kind contribution towards that team’s cost share.

    At this time, there will be NO in-kind toward dues.

  3. Training Tuition Applied Toward Dues - Codify in the agreement language to allow entities to apply training tuition toward dues membership. This is advantageous for universities in particular that have challenges spending funds on consortia.

  4. Positions within the ROS-Industrial Organization - To improve opportunities and to encourage ROS-I specific community/University development, it is proposed to offer and support “Positions” within the ROS-I organization. These would be unpaid positions, but would be represented in the ROS-I organizational structure, have roles and responsibilities, and a mutually agreed upon term of engagement, i.e. one Consortium, Calendar, or Academic Year.

    The benefit to the position holder is this can be included on a resume and letters of reference/recommendations can be provided by those that realized the benefits of the contributions and/or support. Ideally, members would be open to “sponsoring” the position, and a representative that benefitted from the work would be willing to author letters of reference for the position holder. Sponsor would acknowledge that the maintainer/community member is making improvements to a package/capability/driver under advice and/or direction of the sponsor. The benefit for the community member, or position holder, is that this time within the position is something can be later included on a resume and letters of reference from those that benefitted from the work could be forthcoming. The intent is to drive improved engagement from academia and the broader community and enables higher level of ROS-I/Industry specific development and contribution to the code base.

  5. Extraction of Robot Drivers and Recognition of Supporting Organizations – Moving forward OEM-centric packages will have their Drivers moved to a separate location to enable focused adoption by OEMs.

    A number of these drivers and interfaces are currently not supported, formally, by the ROS-I leadership or Consortia, and are typically pulled in and modified by discrete users for their specific use cases. This just makes it clear of the status and drives the conversation to the OEMs. If/When OEMs decide to take ownership of their interfaces, they are in one common place where only the relevant interface is located and complimentary packages, that are not related specifically to the interface are not impacted. The intent is to drive awareness of the support status and highlight those OEMs/partners that step in to support/improve their drivers.

  6. ROS 2 Training Module - As ROS 2 becomes more mature and sunsetting of ROS 1 commences, it has become clear that training may need to be updated to reflect the latest around ROS 2 development. Current proposal is to create a ROS 2 module and offer this as an “Advanced Topic”, much like current training programs do for Perception Pipeline, and other more in-depth topics. We look forward to collaboration with the ROSIN initiative to assist in ROS 2 training content development.

  7. Certificates for Training Completion - At this time there is no formal “Certificate” for training completion. In certain cases these have been requested and created. The CAC voted to maintain the default as no certificate for training completion, but they can be provided upon request. A template is available, and has been utilized on request. Thank you to ROS-Industrial Consortium – Asia-Pacific for the creation of the certificate.

  8. Problem-Centric Roadmap Creation - It has been customary for the ROS-I Consortium Americas to revisit and have roadmapping exercises at the Annual Meeting in the Spring. In 2017 a number of interviews were conducted by ROS-I Americas leadership discussing manufacturing problem-centric roadmapping model. Current technical vision graphic contains “elements” that need development around capabilities that combined in certain ways can address problems, however the problem-centric prioritization provides additional context to this technical capability view. This priority of problems would lead to FTP concepts that then could be championed or voted up/down based on member interest.

    The first workshop to generate a Problem-Centric Roadmap will be held the afternoon of March 8th amongst the Consortium-Americas membership. The result will be summarized and reported in a Blog Post following the 2018 Annual Meeting.

Problems and Capabilties-2.jpg

We hope that everyone finds these changes and new initiatives value-added to the overall objective of ROS-Industrial. We anticipate the changes will foster and grow the community and broaden OEM and solution provider engagement.

Furthermore, engagement and alignment with complimenting organizations/initiatives such as the ARM Institute in the United States, and ROSIN in the European Union, are critical as well, and enable a more efficient leverage of the three Consortia and broader ROS-Industrial resources.

We look forward to rolling out these various initiatives and hope the community and our membership find them delivering value and enabling the realization of the ROS-Industrial vision.