Robots have become a vital tool in a variety of applications, from marine and space exploration to day-to-day household tasks like vacuuming the floor. As manufacturers continue to realize the benefits that robots can provide — and become comfortable with the idea of robots working to assist and serve humans rather than replace them — robots are increasingly performing tasks including:
- Precision work
- Hazardous chemical handling
- Tasks in dangerous environments
ROS: Getting Robots Ready for Work
Programming robots to perform exactly as you need them to in an industrial environment, however, is a complex task. Furthermore, innovation slows considerably if developers need to start from square one each time they face a new application. The Robot Operation System (ROS),
an open resource of tools, libraries and conventions, allows developers to work collaboratively, taking advantage of existing work to simplify and accelerate the process of creating robotic behaviors.
ROS — and now ROS 2 — is modular, which allows developers to choose the components they need, and there are more than 3,000 packages available that add value to the core system. ROS/ROS 2 uses a BSD license, an open license that allows developers to use the system in commercial products, and packages in the ROS ecosystem specify their licensing, so developers can easily find one that meets their needs.
In addition, ROS is supported by a large, global community with thousands of active users on its mailing list, wiki, and the ROS Answers
Why ROS 2 is the Future of Industrial Robotics
Although ROS is widely used, Brian Gerkey, CEO and co-founder of Open Robotics, explains that the ROS development team has received feedback over the years expressing that ROS wasn’t a good fit for mission-critical production use cases. In his interview with TechCrunch
, Gerkey says the team rebuilt ROS 2 from the ground up to address those issues, such as support for multi-robot systems, safety certifications, and security.
Morgan Quigley, chief architect and co-founder of Open Robotics, adds that with ROS 2 embedded in hardware, it’s possible to do much more computation at the edge, which, for example, allows combining sensory data or data from diverse sources to improve performance.
Quigley says the goal with ROS 2 is open source all the way down into hardware
, so operations can easily add the components and extract the types of data they need.
Quigley adds that although ROS envisioned systems for single robots, ROS 2 acknowledges that an industrial operation could have multiple robots and requires a way to communicate with them. ROS 2 made the library independent of the OS and adopted a Data Distribution Service (DDS) protocol – the Internet of Things (IoT) communications protocol that enables real-time communication. This results in a scalable system that will allow a business to optimize its operation with different types of robots and standardize how they share data.
How ROS 2, Edge Computing, and Deep Learning is Driving Industry 4.0
With ROS 2, advances in edge computing and deep learning, your operation can progress toward and Industry 4.0 environment and the benefits of data-driven processes and automation. Leveraging ROS 2, more robotic devices, including autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and collaborative robots (COBOT), can be connected, and edge computing offloads some of the burden from the network by processing data at the source.
ROS 2 will also enable the development of ready-to-use, open source solutions that you can easily integrate into your operations. For example, you could add a visioning system
that gives robots human-like vision, enabling them to perform jobs like loading, picking, and packing.
You also have the opportunity to advance your Industry 4.0 objectives through innovations made possible by new partnerships using ROS 2. ADLINK, for example, partnered with the Fair Friend Group (FFG) to develop ROS 2 toward Converged 5G for Factories of the Future.
This collaboration integrates wireless 5G network technology with ROS 2 platforms to enable real-time control and reliable communication. ADLINK has further developed a standardized data exchange environment using its Vortex DDS platform. FFG is building the first demo production line for Factories of the Future to showcase this technology in action.
The Future of Robotics is the Future of Industry
ROS 2, along with edge IoT technology, is vaulting manufacturers forward toward their Industry 4.0 smart factory goals. It’s now possible to make multiple robots a part of a secure, open source, connected environment and give operators control over the entire operation using a standardized communication protocol. These advancements are opening the door for enterprises to achieve their automation, efficiency and innovation goals more quickly and easily than they can with legacy technology.
Curious to learn more? You can meet Rover the Robot at the Edge IoT Smart Pallet Experience
September 23rd-25th 2019 at Pack Expo Las Vegas
! Attend for free on us
to get hands-on with ADLINK’s ROS 2 solutions
and access to the entire expo.
Learn more about our robotics technology here
including our ROScube software development kit (SDK), ROS starter kit and portfolio of Neuron offerings.