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tracked robot Gazebo-ROS

asked 2016-12-12 02:13:00 -0600

almosca gravatar image

hello, I'm trying to create a simulator in gazebo under ROS, for a robot base. This robot base has tracked wheels. I would like to ask you how to implement them in ros and Gazebo, in particular:

  • is there any kind of specific transmission ?
  • do I have to build the urdf xacro in a particular way ?
  • is there any kind of example (I didn't find it from my own)?

thanks in advance

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3 Answers

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answered 2020-04-24 18:49:33 -0600

peci1 gravatar image

Now there is official support for tracked robots in Gazebo 9 and 11 using ODE. Check out for usage example.

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As this is now the answer, I've marked it as the answer instead of my earlier one.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-04-25 05:02:57 -0600 )edit

@gvdhoorn@peci1 Thank you for this solution. I was able to run the demo. But i am unable to implement the plugin on my robot design. Could anyone of you help me do it? I added the keyboardGUI and simple tracked vehicle plugin. But its not working in my case. My robot isn't moving. For a note, my robot design is in urdf xacro format

pranshu gravatar image pranshu  ( 2020-08-06 01:29:11 -0600 )edit

@pranshu It'd be best if you created a new question here where you post your whole Xacro file and the process you make an SDF from it.

peci1 gravatar image peci1  ( 2020-08-10 06:02:02 -0600 )edit

answered 2016-12-12 02:50:21 -0600

gvdhoorn gravatar image

I'm not entirely sure, but afaik there is (still) no dedicated support for tracked vehicles in Gazebo. One approach/work-around I seem to remember is that people use skid-steering for the dynamics with a track-like appearance for visualisation.

All-in-all I believe you have a better chance of getting good answers over at, but some related questions / links:

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thanks a lot for the answer, i will have a look on these links !! :)

almosca gravatar image almosca  ( 2016-12-12 03:06:50 -0600 )edit

Did you cross-post to tracked robot Gazebo-ROs? Or was that after we referred you to that site?

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2016-12-12 09:34:40 -0600 )edit

answered 2016-12-12 15:16:03 -0600

lucasw gravatar image

updated 2016-12-12 15:21:44 -0600

I gave a fully physical version of this a try in my bullet physics wrapper ( as opposed to Gazebo) and got okay results:

image description

Obstacles much higher than the one shown in the video resulted in a lot of slipping when the back wheels reached it.

The tracks are driven like a gear with teeth meshing with the gaps between track plates, and inner and outer wheel covers with a slightly larger diameter than the inner wheel keeps the tracks from falling off. Some cheating may be going on if the wheel covers or teeth are contacting the ground rather than than just the treads.

The whole thing shakes around a bit which may be a precursor to sim instability in rougher environments or with a different configuration.

It took around 20% cpu on a 2.8GHz i7, given that and additional mechanisms that ought to be added that would take up more cpu (like maybe a packbot style second set of treads on flippers, or a higher density of plates) it may not be worth it unless simulating tracks is important.

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I wish this answer came with the configuration files for this robot, that would just make it perfect.

fvd gravatar image fvd  ( 2018-08-06 21:38:47 -0600 )edit

You should be able to launch it with the files in the github repo:

roslaunch bullet_server tracked_vehicle.launch

(Though I haven't tried it recently)

lucasw gravatar image lucasw  ( 2018-08-06 22:19:13 -0600 )edit

Nice, my bad, I didn't see that it was an example file :)

fvd gravatar image fvd  ( 2018-08-07 00:55:47 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2016-12-12 02:13:00 -0600

Seen: 3,913 times

Last updated: Apr 24 '20