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Posted: Mar 25, 2014

ROS: software components for industrial robotics

(Nanowerk News) Already firmly established among the research community, ROS is now set to become the industry standard. The open-source “Robot Operating System” (ROS) offers a host of highly developed software components that can be efficiently employed also for industrial applications. At Automatica 2014, Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate how ROS Industrial can be used, for example, for environment sensing and path planning.
ROS connection for KUKA industrial robot
ROS connection for KUKA industrial robot.
Dynamic environments involving different workpieces call for automation solutions with sensors and intelligent software for data evaluation. The open-source framework ROS can be an attractive option for the implementation of challenging functionalities in automation technology, especially in robotics. ROS provides a multiplicity of intelligent algorithms and methods as well as a host of libraries. Both hardware and software components can be more easily exchanged through standardised interfaces or using “ROS middleware”. This allows savings of time and money in application development. Launched five years ago, ROS very quickly established itself as the community standard among robotics researchers.
The recently created “ROS Industrial Initiative”, which is coordinated at European level by Fraunhofer IPA, has now set itself the goal of exploiting the potential of ROS also for industrial applications. The next step is to establish an industrial consortium to act as a central contact point for training and support in all aspects of ROS. In cooperation with the global developer community, the aim is to further develop the open-source framework with regard to the additional non-functional requirements of industry, such as robustness, reliability and safety. “We see in ROS Industrial a unique opportunity to transfer technologies from research to industrial applications. Within just a few years, it has the potential to establish itself as a vendor-neutral standard platform for the development of robot applications,” says Ulrich Reiser, Group Leader in the Robot and Assistive Systems department.
Automation solutions for SME system integrators
ROS is suitable for system integrators wishing to provide their customers with flexible, cost-effective and vendor-neutral automation solutions. “Cost savings and reduced development and set-up expense are especially relevant for complex and customised system solutions in industrial robotics. This is where ROS can represent an attractive option, particularly for SME system integrators,” says Reiser.
At Automatica 2014, Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate which components can be used for which applications in an everyday production setting. Experts will give an overview of suitable application areas and will present the most important tools in live demonstrations. Visitors will be able to discover for themselves how ROS can be used, for example, to process 3D images, generate collision-free robot motions or configure robot systems.
Source: Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung
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