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TransformListener x10 higher CPU load in rclpy than rclpp

asked 2021-06-29 11:57:54 -0600

charlie92 gravatar image

System info

  • Operating System:
    • Docker + Ubuntu 20.04, 10th gen i7
    • Docker + Ubuntu 20.04, jetson AGX Xavier
  • ROS2 Version:
    • Foxy binaries

Steps to reproduce issue

Make sure the system is publishing transforms to /tf at 30Hz. Run a simple node with a TransformListener in python and in C++.


import rclpy
from rclpy.node import Node
from tf2_ros.buffer import Buffer
from tf2_ros.transform_listener import TransformListener

class MyNode(Node):
    def __init__(
    ) -> None:
        self.buffer = Buffer()
        self.listener = TransformListener(
            buffer=self.buffer, node=self, spin_thread=False
        self.listener.buffer = self.buffer
        self.tm_main = self.create_timer(

    def timer_callback(self):
        if  self.buffer.can_transform(
            rclpy.time.Time(seconds=0, nanoseconds=0).to_msg(),
            self.get_logger().info("Can transform")

def main(args=None) -> None:
    node = MyNode()

if __name__ == "__main__":


#include <string>
#include "rclcpp/rclcpp.hpp"
#include "rclcpp/time.hpp"
#include <tf2_ros/buffer.h>
#include <tf2_ros/transform_listener.h>
#include "tf2_geometry_msgs/tf2_geometry_msgs.h"

using namespace std::chrono_literals;
using namespace std;

class MyNode : public rclcpp::Node
    MyNode(const string& node_name, const string& nm)
    : Node(node_name, nm)
      _buffer_tf2 = std::make_unique<tf2_ros::Buffer>(this->get_clock());
      _listener_tf2 = std::make_shared<tf2_ros::TransformListener>(*_buffer_tf2);
      timer_ = this->create_wall_timer(
      500ms, std::bind(&TFListenerNode::timer_callback, this));

    void timer_callback()
      if (_buffer_tf2->canTransform("camera_color_optical_frame", "map", tf2::TimePointZero))
            RCLCPP_INFO(this->get_logger(), "Can transform");
    rclcpp::TimerBase::SharedPtr timer_;
    std::unique_ptr<tf2_ros::Buffer> _buffer_tf2;
    std::shared_ptr<tf2_ros::TransformListener> _listener_tf2;
int main(int argc, char* argv[])
    rclcpp::init(argc, argv);
    auto tf_transforms_node = make_shared<MyNode>("listener_transforms_node", "tf_transforms");
    return 0;

Expected behavior

Roughly the CPU load should be the same, at least not that big difference.

Actual behavior

The python implementation loads the CPU almost 10x. Tested in my beefy laptop and in a Jetson.

My laptop

Python node: ~8% CPU one core C++ node: ~1% CPU one core


Python node: ~20% CPU one core C++ node: ~2% CPU one core

In this case, it makes the python API unusable in a constraint environment like a Jetson.

Does anyone know any known issue with tf2_ros in python? Does this implementation look bad?

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1 Answer

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answered 2021-06-29 13:59:15 -0600

tfoote gravatar image

updated 2021-06-29 13:59:43 -0600

I have not benchmarked this with rclpy but we saw the same behavior with rospy and roscpp where actually just subscribing to the /tf topic in python takes that order of magnitude CPU to receive the firehose of high frequency data.

To that end we created the tf2 buffer_server. It providea an action based API for querying transforms from another node. You can find some pointers in the tf2 MIgration notes:

The c++ implementation of the Listener be default provides this API. And you can just create the buffer_client and point it at an existing buffer_server running on a neighboring c++ node.

The ROS 2 implementation parallels the ROS 1 implementation.

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Thank your for the information, I didn't know about this server and actually I was thinking on implementing a kind of buffer_server. I suppose we can just use this client in python

charlie92 gravatar image charlie92  ( 2021-06-29 14:25:42 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2021-06-29 11:57:54 -0600

Seen: 202 times

Last updated: Jun 29 '21