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Using navigation stack with outdated on-board PC

asked 2013-03-26 02:08:06 -0600

Peter Roos gravatar image


We have a Pioneer P3AT robot with a rather outdated on-board PC - Pentium III 700 MHz with 256 MB RAM. The robot communicates with a powerful PC through Wi-Fi. In our current setup, the on-board PC runs a driver package (RosAria), a node for SICK laser, transformation and robot_state_publisher stuff. The following components run on the external PC: move_base, amcl, map_server, rviz.

This setup does perform pretty well.

We were thinking about an optimization - move every node to the robot's on-board PC except for rviz. This should make information flow more efficient, but the question is that will the robot's hardware handle this task.

Note: the on-board PC runs Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS in text mode.

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answered 2013-03-26 06:56:45 -0600

ahendrix gravatar image

The best way to find out is to try it and see.

You should be able to get some idea of how well it may work by looking at the current CPU usage on the robot and the desktop; if the robot is mostly idle (<25%), it's definitely worth a try. If the robot is already pretty busy (>50%), I probably wouldn't bother.

When you're running everything on the robot, be sure to watch the CPU usage and ROS console carefully; the navigation stack behaves pretty poorly if it doesn't get enough CPU time. You'll see lots of messages about various internal loops running too slowly if this is the case. Reducing the control loop frequencies and the costmap sizes or resolutions should help with this.

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Asked: 2013-03-26 02:08:06 -0600

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Last updated: Mar 26 '13