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The meaning of error msgs in arm_navigation and how to debug

asked 2012-11-12 18:09:44 -0500

Albert K gravatar image

updated 2012-11-19 05:58:37 -0500

I followed this tutorial

and modified it slightly to make it move to four different positions.

Sometime errors happened such as:

Action failed: ACTIVE
Timed out achieving goal A
Action failed: PENDING

When error occurred, sometimes it still took the end-effector to the right place, while sometimes the arm wouldn't move. This is my code, it's almost the same as the one in the tutorial.

#include <ros/ros.h>
#include <actionlib/client/simple_action_client.h>

#include <arm_navigation_msgs/MoveArmAction.h>
#include <arm_navigation_msgs/utils.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv){
      ROS_INFO("Wrong Argument : rosrun package binary_file x y z");
      return -1;

  ros::init (argc, argv, "move_arm_pose_goal_test");
  ros::NodeHandle nh;
  actionlib::SimpleActionClient<arm_navigation_msgs::MoveArmAction>     move_arm("move_right_arm",true);
  ROS_INFO("Connected to server");
  arm_navigation_msgs::MoveArmGoal goalA;

  goalA.motion_plan_request.group_name = "right_arm";
  goalA.motion_plan_request.num_planning_attempts = 1;
  goalA.motion_plan_request.planner_id = std::string("");
  goalA.planner_service_name =     std::string("ompl_planning/plan_kinematic_path");
  goalA.motion_plan_request.allowed_planning_time = ros::Duration(5.0);

  arm_navigation_msgs::SimplePoseConstraint desired_pose;
  desired_pose.header.frame_id = "torso_lift_link";
  desired_pose.link_name = "r_wrist_roll_link";
  desired_pose.pose.position.x = atof(argv[1]);
  desired_pose.pose.position.y = atof(argv[2]);
  desired_pose.pose.position.z = atof(argv[3]);

  desired_pose.pose.orientation.x = 0.0;
  desired_pose.pose.orientation.y = 0.0;
  desired_pose.pose.orientation.z = 0.0;
  desired_pose.pose.orientation.w = 1.0;

  desired_pose.absolute_position_tolerance.x = 0.02;
  desired_pose.absolute_position_tolerance.y = 0.02;
  desired_pose.absolute_position_tolerance.z = 0.02;

  desired_pose.absolute_roll_tolerance = 0.04;
  desired_pose.absolute_pitch_tolerance = 0.04;
  desired_pose.absolute_yaw_tolerance = 0.04;


  if (nh.ok())
      ROS_INFO("Timed out achieving goal A");
      actionlib::SimpleClientGoalState state = move_arm.getState();
      bool success = (state == actionlib::SimpleClientGoalState::SUCCEEDED);
        ROS_INFO("Action finished: %s",state.toString().c_str());
        ROS_INFO("Action failed: %s",state.toString().c_str());

I would like to know what's the meaning of the errors :


And how to debug using these error msgs.( the timeout msg as well)

Besides, why is that sometimes the arm can still move when the error occurred.

Thanks for any advise~


The four positions I've test :

./ik_arm_traj 0.5 0.0 -0.2

./ik_arm_traj 0.5 -0.4 -0.2

./ik_arm_traj 0.5 -0.4 0.2

./ik_arm_traj 0.5 0.0 0.2


I've follow dornhege's advise and try to print out the result defined by MoveArm.action in arm_navigation_msgs.

ROS_INFO("Action result:%d", move_arm.getResult()->error_code.val)

However, the error code always be 0, no matter whether the arm can move or not. So I still can't know what makes the move_arm action fail.

Besides, I would like to ask that since the move_arm is built on actionlib, how can the arm sometimes still moves while the status of the action server reported failed?

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2 Answers

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answered 2012-11-12 22:39:12 -0500

dornhege gravatar image

The state is actually just the state that you get from actionlib and not specific to move_arm. This will only tell you if the action is running/succeeded/failed, etc.

To get detailed information about the move_arm result, look at the MoveArmActionResult that contains arm_navigation_msgs error codes.

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What's the different between the state of actionlib and the state of move_am in this situation, since the arm is controlled by the arctioblib of "move_right_arm" ?

Albert K gravatar image Albert K  ( 2012-11-13 23:16:14 -0500 )edit

actionlib is the generic action wrapper that can be any action. It is used to provide the specific move_arm action. This action defines its custom state/result. It is the same relationship as a ROS service call and the actual service definition.

dornhege gravatar image dornhege  ( 2012-11-14 00:06:10 -0500 )edit

I've written a simple action server and find out that the status topic is of the type actionlib_msgs/GoalStatusArray, which is related to PENDING, ACTIVE, RECALLED, etc. However, I don't know how to write a program to print out the result, since the tutorial of actionlib also uses status as well.

Albert K gravatar image Albert K  ( 2012-11-18 03:51:43 -0500 )edit

Any simple example or tutorial about how to print out the result? Thanks

Albert K gravatar image Albert K  ( 2012-11-18 03:52:19 -0500 )edit

You get the result via the getResult() function (instead of getState()).

dornhege gravatar image dornhege  ( 2012-11-18 23:13:03 -0500 )edit

What is the return type of getResult()? In this example, the following code snippet get compile error:

arm_navigation_msgs::MoveArmActionResult * result=move_arm.getResult();

ROS_INFO("Action result: %d", result -> error_code.val);

Albert K gravatar image Albert K  ( 2012-11-19 00:56:03 -0500 )edit

@dornhege : please see the modified part of the original post. Thanks~

Albert K gravatar image Albert K  ( 2012-11-19 05:59:42 -0500 )edit

answered 2012-11-19 17:25:24 -0500

bit-pirate gravatar image

Dornhedge already answered the error code part of your question. So, I'll respond to why your arm keeps moving.

Actually, your example already hints the answer.

Action failed: ACTIVE
Timed out achieving goal A
Action failed: PENDING

Your action goal only failed, because it got timed out (go to A in X seconds). However, move_arm uses another action server for executing arm motions (FollowJointTrajectoryAction). Unfortunately, move_arm does not cancel the execution action, once its own goal has been aborted/preempted. In your case that is not too bad, but in some cases you really want to stop the execution.

Have a look at this Q&A to find out how to cancel the execution, if you cancel a move_arm action.

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Asked: 2012-11-12 18:09:44 -0500

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Last updated: Nov 19 '12