In 2011, Motoman USA partnered with SwRI (Southwest Research Institute) to enable ROS software to be available to Motoman users. “The next step for industrial robotics is to be more sensor aware; to be able to accomodate the many new capabilities showing up in the service sector. It’s clear that ROS is able to handle all of these,” said Erik Nieves, Technology Director for Yaskawa America’s Motoman Robotics Division.
From that venture came the SwRI-led ROS-Industrial Consortium (2012), dedicated to providing a common interoperable software language for existing industrial hardware. Last month, Fraunhofer IPA became the ROS-I organizer for the EU.
ROS-I enables workcell visualization and simulation capabilities, and material handling in dynamic environments with on-the-fly object ID and grasp planning. It allows 2D-vision and 3D-point cloud perception systems.
“It’s an exciting time in industrial robotics,” said SwRI senior research engineer Shaun Edwards. “After the economic downturn, the U.S. is now seeing a new government focus on manufacturing, a surge of venture capital spending in this area, and a trend toward returning manufacturing to homeland countries due to rising labor costs in other countries.”
This is also the 5th anniversary of ROS. There are many hundreds of robots running ROS. More than 90 types and 28 robots come with supported installation instructions.