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How can UAVs be simulated using ROS?

asked 2011-02-19 11:23:44 -0500

updated 2014-01-28 17:09:11 -0500

ngrennan gravatar image

I was wondering what approach (if at all) people are using for simulating UAVs using ROS. For example, it should be possible to simulate quadrotors using gazebo. Has anybody already tried this? Are there any other working solutions interfacing other simulators?

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answered 2011-02-20 03:08:17 -0500

It might help to know what capabilities you are looking for in a simulator. Kinematics, dynamics, sensor models, validation, real-time vs. non-real-time, graphics, multi-vehicle ...?

The flyer_sim package in starmac-ros-pkg has a very basic simulator implemented as a node written in Python. At present there is a simple nonlinear dynamics and sensor model that is not meant to exactly simulate a particular quadrotor, but rather to simply have 'quadrotor-like' dynamics so that the rest of the system can safely be tested (and learned). In the near future we expect to have more accurate models based on system identification implemented in the flyer_sim package.

While not strictly speaking part of the simulator, the overall package also has a means of visualizing the simulation in rviz (see the end of this tutorial for a screenshot).

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I'd use simulation for the complete package e.g. more towards high level control (path planning, sensors, navigation etc.) with plausible, if not perfect dynamics of the simulated vehicle. But I really asked the question out of interest what other people are doing / what is possible.
Stefan Kohlbrecher gravatar image Stefan Kohlbrecher  ( 2011-02-20 17:18:19 -0500 )edit

answered 2012-04-17 21:28:44 -0500

As announced here, the hector_quadrotor stack provides a quadrotor model that is usable in gazebo. It does not support the new plugin API in fuerte yet, but we're looking into making it compatible.

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answered 2011-02-19 22:31:10 -0500

tom gravatar image

updated 2011-02-19 22:32:01 -0500

I've once been looking for a quadrotor simulation using ROS myself. I gave it up and created one myself in Simulink 3D back then, but found this one before. Maybe you might give it a try and use it, I don't know if it works, though. Of course, let know if you have any success, please :).

Cheers, Tom

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answered 2011-06-08 00:17:24 -0500

KoenBuys gravatar image

To complete the answer of Bemfica. MORSE actually supports direct communication over ROS middleware to any platform in simulation, there is no need to go over matlab/simulink and UDP (although this is also a perfectly good solution). You can connect directly with your existing ROS nodes. At our lab my colleagues also have used Blender for simulation of their UAV's and in LAAS/ONERA they also use Blender.

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answered 2011-06-07 05:11:15 -0500

Bemfica gravatar image

I am working on AirRobots project and we are using the Blender game engine and the MORSE project as simulator/visualizer. Actually the control is done by using matlab/simulink which communicates with Blender through an UDP bus.

We are founding some problems with collisions scenes and force detection because seams that the Bullet engine is not extremely precise, especially when you have a multi rigid-body composition, like a manipulator for example.

cheers, Jeferson

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Asked: 2011-02-19 11:23:44 -0500

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Last updated: Apr 25 '12