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What're the pros and cons of ROS-I compared to other industrial robotics operating systems?

asked 2016-06-16 04:38:55 -0600

snakeninny gravatar image

updated 2016-06-17 02:38:19 -0600

Hi everyone,

I'm new to ROS but became very interested in it at first glance ;)

As we know, ABB, FANUC, Yaskawa and KUKA are the top 4 industrial robotics companies. Seems all of them have already started trying to use ROS-I on some of their products, but that's still in an early stage.

So, I'm wondering, what are the pros and cons of ROS-I compared to the operating systems developed by these companies?

And what obstacles ROS-I faces to be massively deployed in industrial robots?

I've did quite some searches but still couldn't find satisfying answers; they failed to explain the "why"s hence not very convincing.

Thanks,

snakeninny

Edit: Thanks to @gvdhoorn, I've updated my question to a better and more accurate one: What's the relationship of ROS-I and other robotics operating systems?

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I'll refrain from answering the rest, but:

[..] what are the pros and cons of ROS-I compared to the operating systems developed by these companies [..] And what obstacles ROS-I faces to be massively deployed in industrial robots?

I get the impression you think ROS-Industrial intents to (cont'd)

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2016-06-16 06:28:32 -0600 )edit

.. replace whatever industrial robot controllers are running now. That is not the case. We "only" (there's more to it, but I'll skip that) strive to integrate existing technology, and to make it easier for cutting edge research to transition to commercial settings.

Also: (cont'd)

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2016-06-16 06:30:22 -0600 )edit

..

As we know, ABB, FANUC, Yaskawa and KUKA are the top 4 industrial robotics companies. Seems all of them have already started trying to use ROS-I on some of their products, but that's still in an early stage.

I would be interested to know your source(s) for that statement.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2016-06-16 06:30:53 -0600 )edit

Thanks for the quick responses. From here, here and here, all their statuses are "developmental", i.e. "This software is not yet production ready code", so I guess it's still far from deployment.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-16 21:14:53 -0600 )edit

@gvdhoorn And can you describe the differences (of any aspects) between ROS-I and the current operating systems those companies use? Thanks.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-16 21:20:59 -0600 )edit

The statuses are developmental because the components are still being developed (ie: actively), not just maintained. Also: I was more interested in your statement about "Seems all of them have already started trying to use ROS-I on some of their products, but that's still in an early stage."

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2016-06-17 01:09:47 -0600 )edit

And can you describe the differences (of any aspects) between ROS-I and the current operating systems those companies use? Thanks.

My question would be: why? Industrial controllers do one thing: control motion the best they can. That is only a single - relatively small - part of ROS.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2016-06-17 01:11:23 -0600 )edit

I googled "KUKA ROS" and found "controlling KUKA kr3 with ROS", which is a very basic question. I think if the integration of ROS and KUKA is quite mature, google would give me some more "advanced" results.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 01:53:04 -0600 )edit

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answered 2016-06-17 02:25:32 -0600

gvdhoorn gravatar image

updated 2016-06-17 02:41:46 -0600

The better one may be: What's the relationship of ROS-I and other robotics operating systems?

Now I can try to answer your question: if with robotics operating systems you are actually referring to the (often) custom, hard real-time operating systems found on industrial robot controllers (I'll refer to these as vendor OS), then the relationship is simple: ROS-Industrial provides packages that implement a bridge to expose access to the motion control and other capabilities of those vendor OS which allows a ROS application to control industrial robots just as they would a PR2, a Fetch or any other ROS-enabled robot.

Most of these drivers include small user-level programs that are installed on the controller that communicate using networking sockets with a ROS node on an external PC. The industrial controller is in complete control of the execution of the motion, ROS provides the trajectories. Controller-level safety is handled by the controller, low-level motion control is handled by the controller, nothing is replaced, only integrated.

If you will, the ROS-Industrial (driver) packages provide an abstracted control interface to the functionality supported by the industrial robot controller, effectively removing all / most vendor-specific aspects from how one would normally interact with such controllers.

There are many more components in ROS(-Industrial), but almost all of them have no (direct) relationship with industrial robot controllers.

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What I understand is that ROS-I is kind of a layer between ROS users/developers and vender OS, i.e. it's like a wrapper of various vendor OS APIs and provides a universal ROS-I API. Correct me if I'm wrong.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:19:07 -0600 )edit

Based upon this question, I have a new one at here. Would you mind taking a look? Thanks.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:47:23 -0600 )edit
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answered 2016-06-17 08:29:58 -0600

pablocesar gravatar image

ROS-I brings the rich world of developed solutions (ROS packages) and the ones in research to be integrated to the industrial robots (manipulators), the main issue that ROS has is a lack of reliability and safety concern. Those are basically the main points in which ROS-I is working together with the robot vendors, industry can't afford having a robot that suddenly behave in an unexpected manner. Pros of ROS-I:

  • Let's developers create solutions that are cross robot, so no matter the brand, the same solution will run for any ROS-I compatible robot.
  • You can integrate the robot capabilities to existing solutions (ROS packages) that enhance the capabilities and functionalities of the robot in the production line: Like object recognition, point cloud, et c.
  • Brings the open-source way of development (community) to the industrial robots, letting industries be less dependent on a specific vendor.
  • Programming a tasks becomes totally independent of the vendor specific OS.

Cons of ROS-I:

  • It is not reliable yet.
  • takes too much time to prepare and perform the same high level movements (like welding) that a robot can perform while being easily program with its own vendor programming interface.
  • Industry requires a reliable and precise robot that can perform the same movement more than 10.000 times without ever having weird behaviours. So far, MoveIt is not able to guarantee that this won't happen, Descartes gives some hopes in this aspect, giving to the user more control in the way that the robot must move, but is too clumsy to use, so, for creating a task, it is not as fast as using the vendor way of programming the robot.

At the end is a matter of a few moths (I hope) to make ROS-I reliable, user friendly and safe enough to take all vendor OS out of the market. (I'm also working on this, look at: https://github.com/fontysrobotics/rob... )

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the main issue that ROS has is a lack of reliability and safety concern

May I ask what're the main reasons of the lack of reliability and safety? I think ROS was from labs and lack of practical usages is probably one.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:24:39 -0600 )edit

Let's developers create solutions that are cross robot, so no matter the brand, the same solution will run for any ROS-I compatible robot.

So is this what I meant in the other answer?

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:25:37 -0600 )edit

takes too much time to prepare and perform the same high level movements

What's causing the time consumption? Simply because ROS-I is a wrapper?

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:27:20 -0600 )edit

Industry requires a reliable and precise robot ... giving to the user more control in the way that

So that means ROS-I still lacks some of the key functions vendor OS have, right?

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:29:33 -0600 )edit

Based upon this question, I have a new one at here. Would you mind taking a look? Thanks.

snakeninny gravatar imagesnakeninny ( 2016-06-17 22:47:35 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2016-06-16 04:38:55 -0600

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Last updated: Jun 17 '16