As always, we at Siemens PLM Software are looking for new areas that will allow us to understand the future of robotics in the industrial sector.
So we recently came across The Robot Operating System (ROS) and I was sent to take a closer look.
I found out that ROS is a set of software libraries and tools that can help build robotic applications. It includes drivers, algorithms and built-in developer tools.
Furthermore, I learned about ROS-Industrial, which is an open-source project that extends the capabilities of ROS software to manufacturing.
In June, I participated in the “ROS Industrial Basic Developers Training Class” at the Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) to understand more about their ecosystem and tools. Since then, I have been experimenting with ROS libraries and tools and thinking about a connection between ROS Industrial and our own Process Simulate software.
It raised a lot of interest amongst my colleagues and I received support from R&D and Product Management.
From what I learned, ROS Industrial has interesting potential in the area of industrial robotics by providing the following:
- Standardization for robotic languages
- Real-time path planning and collision avoidance
- A huge library of open source components
After a few experiments, I compiled the following demowhich shows how Process Simulate can provide a full simulation environment for a ROS controlled robot (R2-D2 believe it or not).
In the demo, you’ll see that R2-D2 has three proximity sensors which are mounted on the right, front and left (their signal values can be seen in real time on the top left of the screen).
R2-D2’s objective is to leave the maze using the simple algorithm of “always try to turn to the right”.
But to make its life a little more interesting, we added red barriers which can be added and removed manually during the simulation to create a more dynamic environment.
Along the way, I overcame a couple of interesting challenges like:
- Having to write a robotic program using 3rd party tools.
- Connecting between Windows-based Process Simulate and Linux-based ROS.
After discovering some real added value of linking ROS Industrial with Process Simulate, I’m going to explore further capabilities, like Vision, and working with more complicated environments using advanced Process Simulate and ROS Industrial software packages.
If you are looking to share interesting view points, use cases and environment challenges which are related to ROS, you are more than welcome to reach out at: