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MoveIt 2 journey: announcing MoveIt 2 alpha release for ROS 2 Dashing Diademata

MoveIt 2 journey: announcing MoveIt 2 alpha release for ROS 2 Dashing Diademata

First published at https://acutronicrobotics.com/news/moveit-2-journey-moveit-2-alpha-release/

MoveIt 2 alpha release is out and available from our fork at https://github.com/acutronicrobotics/moveit2

The MoveIt motion planning framework is an open source software for motion planning, manipulation, 3D perception, kinematics, control and navigation. It is built on top of the Robot Operating System (ROS 2) and altogether, remains the third most popular package in the ROS world. MoveIt provides an easy-to-use platform for developing advanced robotics applications, evaluating new robot designs, and building integrated robotics products for industrial, commercial, R&D, and other domains. MoveIt 2 is is the ROS 2 version of MoveIt.

This is the fifth of a series of articles that describe our learning experience and contributions with the MoveIt 2 and ROS 2 communities. The complete series is listed below:

  1. why MoveIt 2?
  2. porting and understanding moveit_core
  3. first demonstrator in ROS 2, planning to a joint-space goal
  4. sensorless collision detection with ROS 2
  5. announcing MoveIt 2 alpha release ( this article )

In this fifth part we announce the alpha release of MoveIt 2 and discuss the status of the port including the packages ported so far.

Status of the port and contributions

It’s been more than a month since our last update. Over this period our team has been very busy with much progress on the port of MoveIt 2. Additional engineers jumped into the fray summing a total of 4 from Acutronic Robotics. Together with @anasarrak and myself (@vmayoral), @LanderU and @ahcorde (our CTO) have been supporting to get everything in place while pushing community contributions upstream[2]. This resulted in a much faster progress and an overall engineering hour count of more than 1300 from Acutronic Robotics!

At the time of writing, our MoveIt 2 fork[1] allows to run some simple examples fulfilling the initial promise we made. Particularly, we now can plan to a joint-space goal!

Motivated by this and the upcoming release of ROS 2 Dashing Diademata, we are proud to announce the alpha release of MoveIt 2.

MoveIt 2.0 alpha release

This release delivers the following:

MoveIt 2 architecture diagram. Note that there’re packages that aren’t represented in this diagram. Inspired by https://moveit.ros.org/documentation/concepts/ and https://github.com/ros-planning/moveit_docs/tree/kinetic-devel/diagram.

Description

  • ROS 2 distro : Dashing Diademata
  • OS support : Ubuntu 18.04 and Mac OS X 10.14 (some minor issues detected with OS X and are being fixed)
  • CI infrastructure for moveit2 and ROS 2 (source code)
  • Unit tests available for most packages ported
  • Preliminar instructions on how to install and test our work via a) a Docker container, b) the CI infrastructure and c) directly through the source code (both in OS X and Ubuntu)
  • Capability to make simple plans to joint-space goals
  • Co-release of a simple ROS 2 control framework for MARA modular robot (source code)
  • Video with a first demonstrator (link)

ROS packages ported

The following ROS 2 packages have been ported as part of this release:

moveit2
External dependencies

Known issues

At the time of writing, the following known issues have been identified and apply to the ROS 2 target distro (Dashing Diademata) creating conflicts with this release:

Future ahead of this alpha release

This release came out of our fork for several reasons. First, we didn’t have enough time to get all contributions upstream in time but still, thought that an “unofficial” release would give the MoveIt community something to start playing with. With that in mind, by no means, we aim to impose the existing MoveIt! maintainers the weight of supporting you all with MoveIt 2. Instead, we’d be happy to offer limited support to reproduce what’s being announced in this alpha release.

Second, this release is tightly connected to the first demonstrator we announced in a previous article which fulfills our initial commitment: " contribute with the community and put together the first stones to have some basic form of native MoveIt! support in ROS 2.0 ". We believed that getting a first demonstrator was a must and thereby, accelerated the speed of the port by relaxing our internal software development practices (as nicely highlighted by Dave here).

Over the following weeks we will have internal discussions on whether we will be able to continue contributing at the same level or differently. We hope to get back to the MoveIt and ROS 2 communities with the same level of commitment but meanwhile, we invite all other parties interested in MoveIt to jump in and contribute.

Acknowledgements

We’d like to credit and thank our partners at PickNik for their support aligning our work with the community. Similarly, we’d like to thank Robert Haschke, William Woodall, Dirk Thomas, Tully Foote, Chris Lalancette or Brian Gerkey among others at Open Robotics for their help and input throughout the development and release process.

References

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