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Moving a robot in Gazebo

asked 2011-04-03 04:20:55 -0600

ncw000 gravatar image

updated 2014-01-28 17:09:28 -0600

ngrennan gravatar image

I'm trying to use the gazebo package to simulate a simple car-like robot moving around a field. Currently, I've been able to load a model of my robot into a simulation. However, I haven't had any luck understanding how to go about making the robot move via external commands (keyboard presses, etc.).

The documentation seems to gloss over this, or at least I can't find where it's described. How would I go about making a robot move in the a Gazebo simulation?

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answered 2011-05-23 11:50:27 -0600

hsu gravatar image

updated 2011-05-23 11:55:08 -0600

You can write a gazebo plugin to send torque or velocity commands to each wheel and the steering joint. Possibly wrapping a simple PID controller around each controlled joint. An empty gazebo_plugin template has been provided for your convenience. Also, please take a look at the diffdrive example for reference on how to construct a plugin that sends velocity commands to individual joints.

Alternatively, if you are familiar with pr2_mechanism control stacks, you can use some predefined robot mechanism controllers to control your joints. A simple controlled joint example can be found in the single link example as shown here.

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The Link for empty gazebo plugin template doesn't work.

cybodroid gravatar image cybodroid  ( 2015-12-27 02:41:53 -0600 )edit

answered 2011-04-03 06:09:28 -0600

Bart gravatar image

In Gazebo, Stage and real-world navigation initiating movement usually involves some variant of the "cmd_vel" topic, which is based on the "Twist" message format. For simple testing there are a number of nodes in different stacks (turtlebot, pr2) that provide this function using keyboard commands, usually named something like "keyboard_teleop".

I suggest that you examine the turtlesim tutorial ( for a good start. It uses "rosrun turtlesim turtle_teleop_key". Use rxgraph to inspect the topics/messages in your simulation and be prepared to remap topic names as required.

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This is true and helpful, but keep in mind that Twist is not really a very useful or natural interface for car-like robots.
joq gravatar image joq  ( 2011-04-03 13:52:42 -0600 )edit
If an appropriate message type doesn't already exist, it is straighforward to create a new message type and topic name (eg - front_wheel_angle, drive_wheel_velocity as "cmd_car"). Appropriate tutorial is ROS/Tutorials/CreatingMsgAndSrv. You still have to write some code at the receiving end to interpret this command.
Bart gravatar image Bart  ( 2011-04-03 14:36:54 -0600 )edit
I would support adding a standardized car command interface to `common_msgs` somewhere. We should be able to get that into E-turtle if we did an API review some time soon.
joq gravatar image joq  ( 2011-04-03 15:51:15 -0600 )edit
More about /cmd_vel and Twist Messages in car-like robots here ->
Pablo Iñigo Blasco gravatar image Pablo Iñigo Blasco  ( 2011-04-05 19:54:36 -0600 )edit
I understand that movement commands take that format and how turtlesim uses keyboard_teleop, but I'm still not sure how to actually interact with the Gazebo robot simulation. Is there a specific topic to publish to, or some other method that causes the robot to move? Where do I send move data to?
ncw000 gravatar image ncw000  ( 2011-04-09 16:53:30 -0600 )edit

There is a ros package called teleop_twist_keyboard ( This can be used to read from the keyboard and publish to /cmd_vel

k2108 gravatar image k2108  ( 2021-08-09 13:12:14 -0600 )edit

answered 2011-07-08 07:20:42 -0600

Aidan1488 gravatar image

If you're still interested this two tutorials helped me a lot in a very similar problem. I use the pr2 controllers 'cause I don't have the time to make my own so I just build my own stats over the pr2. Hope it helps you:

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hey am doing the same thing in 2019 ,can help me out how do you implement pr2 controller on your model

abraham gravatar image abraham  ( 2019-03-15 15:57:59 -0600 )edit

@abraham Hi, Even i am trying to develop similar model but no success as of now. Did you figure out any particular tutorial on this?

raj199322 gravatar image raj199322  ( 2020-04-25 17:15:36 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2011-04-03 04:20:55 -0600

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Last updated: Jan 28 '14