2023 ROS 2 Technical Steering Committee Community Representative Election

Well, here’s someone running for it this year, and I won’t be shy about promoting it:

Víctor’s Biography

Roboticist and long term contributor to ROS and ROS 2. Strong technical background. Various affiliations with industry, academia and government organizations. Spent the last 10 years building robots with ROS. Founded, funded and led some robotic startups, getting to know early the good and the bad exits, while sharing a ROS-journey with quite some good folks. Continue trying to inspire people to build robot brains with ROS. Very interested in ROS-native hardware. One of the top experts globally on some ROS 2 topics including cybersecurity, embedded and hardware acceleration (systems/robots architecture). Strong ROS advocate (before that became a paid job :stuck_out_tongue: ) and supporter, despite often proposing a different view. Been funding ROS initiatives and gatherings over multiple organizations, for multiple years (e.g. ROSCon).

Links of interest:

Involvement in ROS and most relevant contributions

I’ve been involved in ROS since 2011, when I started contributing to meta-ros (Yocto/OE layers to enable ROS in production-grade embedded systems). Later, in 2014, I had the fantastic opportunity to work closely with the Open Robotics folks, while doing my PhD, in the early days of ROS 2. Been involved with ROS 2 ever since then.

Over the years I’ve contributed to various parts of the ROS stack while reading the market (not always great) and acquiring funding to build ROS-teams. I keep track of some of the companies using ROS commercially (despite some here making it difficult for some reason :wink: ) My most relevant contributions are focused on three areas:

  • ROS 2 in embedded systems: Maintainer and Multi-year contributor to meta-ros. E.g. brought Yocto (Honister) support for Humble Release. More recently, ported Humble to Yocto Langdale. Involved in the early days of ROS 2 for microcontrollers. Involved in Hardware-ROS (H-ROS) endeavours. Involved in the early days of the micro-ROS project, and one of original EU consortia leads. Various contributions over various implementations for MCUs.
  • ROS 2 cybersecurity: Obtained a few dozen CVE IDs in robotics, a few ROS-related. Helped bring up the ROS 2 Security Working Group, very involved in the early days. Helped build some of the original ROS 2 threat models. Built the Robot Vulnerability Database (RVD), proposed methodologies (RSF, Robotics CTF, DevSecOps in Robotics) and contributed to a bunch of tools to increase the security of ROS robotic systems (scapy ROS 2 dissector, aztarna, ros2_fuzzer, ros1_fuzzer, ros_volatity, etc.). Looked into DDS security issues with top security experts. Reported multiple vulnerabilities affecting ROS 2 systems and worked with authorities to make responsive disclosures, despite many of them remaining and still being ignored.
  • (most recently) Hardware Acceleration in ROS 2: Developed and maintain multiple ROS packages to enable hardware acceleration in ROS 2 (ament_acceleration, acceleration_firmware, ament_vitis, colcon-hardware-acceleration, etc). Worked with industry and with the ROS community to establish a vendor-neutral hardware acceleration architecture which got introduced in Humble release. Produced various community-driven REPs. Created and led the ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group (HAWG), attracting relevant (semiconductor) industry players to contribute in the ROS community. Despite the hurdles (HAWG still not showing up as a community WG for some reason), led the ROS 2 HAWG to become the most attended and an attracting source during 2021 and 2022.

Víctor’s Candidate Statement

As I expressed recently, I feel there’s a need for some changes at the TSC of the ROS community. If I get elected, I plan to pursue the following summarized objectives over my period (which will be open to improvements from community feedback at any point in time). For the long version, see discussion here. Shortly:

ROS 2 TSC Issue Suggeted improvements
Lack of Transparency All decisions by the TSC should be disclosed, including voters and votes
Non-Technical Rejection TSC comments and feedback should remain technical. If they don’t have the expertise, they should either defer to the corresponding WGs or invite external independent experts
Lack of Strong Contributors TSC should be diverse in both gender and representation. Companies (Big companies, smaller and startups) as well as community (non-affiliated membership) representatives should get similar representation counts. The overall ROS community should have avenues/methods to raise concerns against TSC members, and methods to replace them if appropriate
Anonymous Lobbying Confidentiality should not be part of the TSC on a general basis and never used for TSC decisions, or to justify the TSC. Members can establish confidentiality outside of the TSC if needed. Nobody should be put in the position of “hey, resign because you’re breaking confidentiality”. Transparency should be an inherent part of what the TSC does.
Need for Community-Centric Governance TSC community representatives should increase to match the count of company representatives and (regardless of their affiliation) should act as non-affiliated for what the TSC matters concern. All TSC members should be elected periodically, not only “community reps”.
Inconsistency in Standardization Accept the community standards as community standards. Don’t reject what’s obvious (e.g. adoption of ros2_tracing for tracing and metrics collection, when the whole ROS 2 stack is already instrumented accordingly).
Lack of Accountability Better accountability by recording meetings. Also, all votes should be publicly disclosed, with the corresponding voters. Voters should be allowed to provide comments to clarify their position. All TSC members should be elected by the community, accountable for their acts and/or replaced given the right circumstances
Inequitable Working Group Establishment Establish more homogeneous WGs that do not exclude or classify members based on their affiliation with the TSC or any other organization. All members of the ROS community should have equal opportunities to participate and contribute to the WGs.

I’d like to stress my long term commitment to the ROS community. Despite not always aligned with some other leading voices on some topics today, I know there are many of you out there that share these concerns to a certain extend. In case I don’t get elected, I hope other community reps can take inspiration from some of these points and make the community better.