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When working with two robots (UR5) is it advisable to keep the base_link frame of each robot at the origin?

No. There is no need for this, in general or with the UR5 models (from ros-industrial/universal_robot that is).

There is a world frame in the ur5_robot.urdf.xacro file, which should actually not be there. See here.

This is also a known issue with these .xacros: ros-industrial/universal_robot#284.

I'd recommend to read the comments on that PR and use a custom top-level .xacro which does not include that world frame for composite scenes (ie: scenes consisting of multiple robots, spawned individually).

See also #q334644.