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micro-ROS Multithreading support

micro-ROS Foxy, Galactic and Rolling provides a new enhancement, the multithreading feature.

Multithreading allows the micro-ROS default middleware (Micro XRCE-DDS) to be thread safe. This way, micro-ROS nodes can run ROS 2 entities such as publishers, subscribers or services in different RTOS execution threads.

As a result, micro-ROS will run in a multi threaded approach under specific circumstances, improving the performance, the usability and resource optimization.

The multithreading mechanism together with shared memory transport contribute to provide a highly flexible environment for deploying micro-ROS nodes with isolated functionality in different RTOS tasks or threads. As always, in a build-time configured way with no usage of dynamic memory.

To activate this new feature, just enable the Multithreading flag in your middleware configuration using your colcon.meta file.

These features are supported in Micro XRCE-DDS, the micro-ROS middleware implementation.
See the associated PRs in the Micro XRCE-DDS library (General, Client, Agent) and in micro-ROS’ Client RMW and Agent.

2 Likes

This is super exciting!
Are any improvements needed in other packages like rclc to make micro-ros as a whole thread-safe?

Thanks, @BrettRD. One of our main concerns right now is that all *_init_*() functions are not thread-safe. Check here for example.