What is the ‘Robot Operating System’ (ROS)?

It was first developed by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in support of the STAIR (Stanford AI Robot) project.  Since 2008, further development of ROS has primarily been happening at Willow Garage, collabirating with more than 20 institutions in a “federated development model”.

Wikipedia extract

The following is an extract from the WikiPedia article on ROS:

“ROS provides standard operating system services such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly-used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management. It is based on a graph architecture where processing takes place in nodes that may receive, post and multiplex sensor, control, state, planning, actuator and other messages. The library is geared toward a Unix-like system (Ubuntu Linux is listed as ‘supported’ while other variants such as Fedora and Mac OS X are considered ‘experimental’).
ROS has two basic “sides”: The operating system side ros as described above and ros-pkg, a suite of user contributed packages (organized into sets called stacks) that implement functionality such as simultaneous localization and mapping, planning, perception, simulation etc.”

Robot Operating System can already be used with the following platforms:


Shadow Robot




Author’s Opinion

In my opinion, it would be a good thing to have a standard operating system for all robots, but this will probably not happen simply because it does not work like that in reality.  If you just look at the mobile market where iOS, Android and RIM’s BlackberryOS are only some of the biggest contributors to mobile phone operating systems.  It is good to see that some of the biggest names like Aldebaran, LEGO NXT and CoroWare are implementing ROS.

Looking forward to learn more in this regard.  Please inform me if I missed something or have given inaccurate information.

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