Robot simulation is an essential tool in every roboticist’s toolbox. A well designed simulator makes it possible to rapidly test algorithms, design robots, and perform regression testing using realistic scenarios.
Gazebo is a 3D multi-robot simulator with dynamics. It offers the ability to accurately and efficiently simulate populations of robots, objects, and sensors in complex indoor and outdoor environments. Gazebo generates both realistic sensor feedback and physically plausible interactions between objects; it includes an accurate simulation of rigid-body physics.
At your fingertips is a robust physics engine, high-quality graphics, and convenient programmatic and graphical interfaces. Best of all, Gazebo is free is and supported by a vibrant community.
The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a flexible framework for writing robot software. It is a collection of tools, libraries, and conventions that aim to simplify the task of creating complex and robust robot behavior across a wide variety of robotic platforms.
Why? Because creating truly robust, general-purpose robot software is hard. From the robot’s perspective, problems that seem trivial to humans often vary wildly between instances of tasks and environments. Dealing with these variations is so hard that no single individual, laboratory, or institution can hope to do it on their own.
As a result, ROS was built from the ground up to encourage collaborative robotics software development. For example, one laboratory might have experts in mapping indoor environments, and could contribute a world-class system for producing maps. Another group might have experts at using maps to navigate, and yet another group might have discovered a computer vision approach that works well for recognizing small objects in clutter. ROS was designed specifically for groups like these to collaborate and build upon each other’s work.
Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and BIT Systems (BITS) are seeking innovative and revolutionary robotics projects for the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) effort, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) . DARPA seeks to revolutionize robotics technologies by promoting non-traditional technical approaches.
The goals of Robotics Fast Track are:
1. Enable rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities designed to respond to, and even anticipate, quickly evolving needs in space, maritime, ground, and air operations. RFT will focus on the development of groundbreaking robotic hardware and software by funding novel approaches as well as creative adaptations of existing technologies.
2. Achieve breakthrough capabilities in less time and at a fraction of the cost typical of government-supported robotic development processes by engaging highly agile organizations and individuals who traditionally have not worked with the U.S. government.