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Is it a good idea to run docker images on a robot?

asked 2016-11-24 08:38:34 -0500

ct2034 gravatar image

I am currently thinking about running the ROS nodes required for a robot to work in separate docker containers. It can then be controlled remotely which nodes are supposed to run and where. I am also thinking about a central instance that manages configurations for nodes and robots to be matched.

I think this can make the whole setup more flexible an robust.

But it also adds some overhead and another abstraction layer.

Has anyone ever done this? Thoughts about this?

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answered 2016-11-26 07:35:08 -0500

Yes, we are doing this on our Pioneer 3-AT robots and it works fine. The main reason we did it was to replicate the setup across same robots (we have three Pioneers with slightly different hardware). With docker it is also easy to bring up the system automatically with something like:

docker run -d --restart=always pioneer3

If you are planning to use roslaunch, one thing to keep in mind is that the containers will be starting in parallel, meaning you have to make them wait for the container with roscore to start, otherwise roslaunch will start its own roscore in each container (though the ROS_MASTER_URI will clash I guess). This can be solved with the --wait flag for roslaunch.

What seems inconvenient to me is the development and debugging, so as you mentioned it might be necessary to write a 'supervisor' app to see the state of containers remotely etc.

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Thanks for the answer. Sounds interesting. Are you also using docker remote api to remotely start and stop containers?

ct2034 gravatar image ct2034  ( 2016-11-29 02:19:33 -0500 )edit

Yes, I think so. Unfortunately I don't have any details right now about that.

Boris gravatar image Boris  ( 2016-12-02 11:07:09 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2016-11-24 08:38:34 -0500

Seen: 363 times

Last updated: Nov 26 '16