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I've found that when setting the initial pose doesn't work, it's generally a communication problem. Assuming you're running amcl on your robot, and rviz on a remote computer, ssh into the robot's computer, and do a rostopic echo on the initialpose topic, and see if the message shows up when you set initialpose in rviz. If it doesn't, start doing some network troubleshooting (I'd start by making sure your ROS_IP and ROS_HOSTNAME environment variables are set correctly).