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Erle Robotics announces ground-based drones Gazebo simulation!

Erle Robotics is glad to announce that the simulation for their Erle-Rover ground drone (powered by the APM autopilot) has been launched and open sourced.

For those interested, APM (also known as ardupilot) is an open source project (licensed under GPLv3) that aims to create autopilots for autonomous vehicles. As it is nowadays, it supports ground vehicles, aerial vehicles (in different configurations, planes, copters, hybrid vehicles, …) rovers and recently also submarines.

The plugin has been developed over AurelienRoy’s plugin which, in a nutshell, is an interface between Gazebo and APM:Rover (ardupilot). To show the power of this plugin, here are some basic behaviors we developed and tested:

  • Obstacle avoidance: a simple but powerful enough algorithm to avoid obstacles. This behaviour was tested first under Gazebo and then brought to real life scenario. It uses a 270º HOKUYO lidar sensor, but all the details and the source code can be found here.
  • Line/terrain follower: line follower algorithm using the camera. Again, all details as well as the source code can be found here.
  • SLAM: SLAM application using hector_mapping node, a powerful SLAM approach that can be used only with a lidar sensor. All the details, including source code are available here. This also was translated to a real scenario and we’ll push more videos soon.

Additional information and resources:


I’ve noticed a few questions about car-like path planning - I wonder if anything in this source code would be helpful there? Or is the usable in this robot?

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Good point @lucasw, I believe it should.
The autopilot functions are abstracted within the plugin and If additional functionality is needed, extending the plugin is the way to go.

We plan on having a look a deeper look at the navigation stack and simulate more behaviors in the coming weeks.

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