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Did you manage to solve your problem? I am also trying to implement a ROS controller that requires the imu hardware interface. From what I can see, the DefaultRobotHWSim (which is used by default for simulations with Gazebo) does not contain the ImuSensorInterface. e.g.: if you try to run imu_sensor_controller you would get an error such as:

This controller requires a hardware interface of type 'hardware_interface::ImuSensorInterface'. Make sure this is registered in the hardware_interface::RobotHW class.
[ERROR] [1571710623.832441259]: Initializing controller 'imu_sensor_controller' failed

So a custom plugin would need to be implemented exposing the hardware interface for the sensors yout application needs.