The same development software that's enabling the Raven II open-source surgical robotic research platform has been tweaked to bring open-source development to industrial robots.
project is now extending the Robot Operating System
(ROS) platform to develop robust, reliable software that meets the needs of manufacturing and industrial applications.
Willow Garage's ROS open-source project provides a common framework of libraries and tools for several different kinds of robots, including configurations for service and research 'bots. As the Raven II combines ROS-based software with university-developed hardware to help accelerate development of surgical robots, ROS-Industrial will combine open-source robotics code with proven industrial robotics.
Willow Garage is collaborating on the project with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and intelligent robot and autonomous mobile solutions provider Adept Technology. The ROS-Industrial project aims to leverage the rapidly growing community of ROS developers, SwRI's experience in transitioning technologies from the research stage to practical applications, and Adept's proven industrial automation. The project's objective is to merge the development opportunities that open-source software offers with the specific, exacting requirements of production and manufacturing, to boost innovation and make robot technologies more transparent.
"We are excited to be working with Adept to bring an open source software platform and the industry's largest applications library to industrial applications," said Steve Cousins, president and CEO of Willow Garage, in a press release. "Willow Garage is committed to making robots the next breakthrough industry by expanding the range of applications while reducing the technical barriers to entry, including the largest concentration of robots currently found in manufacturing."
All ROS-Industrial software can be downloaded free of charge from the repository. ROS-Industrial is a BSD-licensed ROS stack containing libraries, tools, and drivers for industrial hardware. The new project's several goals include creating a community supported by industrial robotics researchers and professionals; creating standard interfaces to stimulate hardware-agnostic software development; providing simple, easy-to-use, and well-documented APIs; and making it easier to apply cutting-edge research in industrial applications using a common ROS architecture.
For example, ROS-Industrial aims to standardize the interfaces to industrial robot arms. Its capabilities include path-planning and dynamic pick-and-place. Currently, the project has demonstrated control of the Adept Viper 650, a 6-axis industrial robot arm. (Watch a short video of the Adept Viper S650 under ROS-Industrial control here.) Earlier, the project demonstrated a ROS-Industrial interface for Motoman's SIA10D 7-axis arm and DX100 controller. (Watch a short video of the Motoman SIA10D under ROS-Industrial control here.)