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ROS is an open-source, meta-operating system for personal robotics. It provides services like an operating system, including hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly-used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management. It also provides tools and libraries for obtaining, building, writing, and running code across multiple computers.
ROS provides a shared software platform to support robotics research and application development. For researchers, the common platform means that scientists can reproduce each others’ robotics experiments and directly build on previous results, leading to better scientific practice. For developers, it means that innovative robotics applications can be shared and used across many different robots. For hobbyists and hackers, it means that sophisticated capabilities, from autonomous navigation to object recognition, are within reach. ROS can be seen (depending on your perspective) as the Linux or the Android of robotics.
Together with Stanford University, Willow Garage launched ROS in 2007. Since that time, a significant and burgeoning ROS community has developed. Currently, there are approximately 2,000 ROS packages, nearly 80 publicly accessible repositories of ROS code, and over 50 robots using ROS, including mobile manipulators, quadrotors, cars, boats, space rovers, hobby platforms, and more.
This presentation will introduce the audience to ROS, covering the development model, underlying concepts, common tools, and example use. Particular attention will be paid to the use of ROS on low-cost robots, and how casual robot hackers can get involved.
Brian Gerkey is Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage. Before joining Willow Garage, he was a Computer Scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI, and before that, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford University. Prior to working on ROS, Brian was founder and co-lead developer on the open source Player Project, which still produces one of the most widely-used software platforms for robotics research and education. Brian has presented at numerous robotics conferences over the last 10 years; recently he was a keynote speaker at SIMPAR 2010, and gave invited talks to the OMG robotics standards group and the BRICS (Best Practices in Robotics) research camp.