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Clearpath Robotics has released new Robot Operating System (ROS) tools for its mobile robots. The tools are designed to make it easier for ROS developers to get started with and use the company’s robots.
The first tool is a robot customizer that Clearpath said makes it easier to add sensors to a robot, whether it be in the real world or in simulation. The interface allows users to modify environment variables, visibly add sensors to a robot’s model and enable the launch of the sensor’s drivers.
Clearpath said it also simplified the process to install ROS on its robots. With the new streamlined process, users can install ROS and its drivers in just a few steps. Clearpath said this makes it simpler and faster to get a robot up and running with some basic capabilities. The simplified installation is available on robot computers and uses various customizations such as network configurations.
Finally, Clearpath said it improved diagnostics and functionality testing. This tool is meant to address one of the most frustrating parts of a robotics project: when something goes wrong. Clearpath produced enhanced diagnostics manuals as well as Dingo test scripts. The enhanced diagnostics allow users to quickly analyze the GUI and find information about potential causes of problems that arise. Dingo tests use the robot’s preloaded test scripts to check robot functionality at the component and system levels.
Brian Gerkey, the CEO and co-founder of Open Robotics and one of the creators of ROS, was recently a guest on The Robot Report Podcast. He discussed the development and evolution of ROS and why open-source software has played such a pivotal role in the growth of the robotics industry and in the acceleration of robotics research in university and corporate robotic labs around the world. You can listen to the interview with Gerkey below.