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I was able to solve the problem.

The environment setting is such that:

  • the 3 topics: /3d_z_coords, /rectified_right, /camera_info have exactly the same timestamp and
  • a "/clock" topic is published
  • the variable use_sim_time is set to true

I added the following attributes to the RTABMAP launch file:

<arg name="rgbd_sync"               default="true"/>
<arg name="approx_rgbd_sync"        default="false"/>

After adding the variables, rtabmap prints Odom messages that indicate that rgb_odometry is publishing data:

[ INFO] [1565910573.832571034, 1556051971.565000057]: Odom: quality=111, std dev=7.774576m|0.038960rad, update time=0.041168s
[ INFO] [1565910573.968252760, 1556051971.700000048]: Odom: quality=109, std dev=6.788122m|0.027549rad, update time=0.042338s

Occasionally, there are still error messages::

[ WARN] [1565910573.791017902, 1556051971.565000057]: odometry: Could not get transform from camera_link to reference_frame (stamp=1556051971.364000) after 0.200000 seconds ("wait_for_transform_duration"=0.200000)! Error="Lookup would require extrapolation into the future.  Requested time 1556051971.364000082 but the latest data is at time 1556051970.490000010, when looking up transform from frame [reference_frame] to frame [camera_link]. canTransform returned after 0.201 timeout was 0.2."

The quality is not good, but this is a separate issue.