We wanted to stress test the Navigation2 stack and work out all the kinks prior to the Eloquent release. Between Dashing and now, we’ve made a bunch of great progress optimizing performance and fixing the last few bugs that would make it challenging to use Navigation2 in production / extended use. We’re happy to report that we have resolved all those bugs and the performance is extremely stable.
To test this, we ran 2 industrial robots, a Robotnik RB1 and a Pal Robotics Tiago across a college campus for a little under 24 hours. We traveled over 40 miles in total with these robots with no disengagements, failures, or otherwise collisions / safety concerns. This experience, we called the Marathon2, is in the spirit of the Willow Garage experiment that resulted in the original navigation stack paper. We conducted a marathon-like experiment intentionally navigating through the highest-traffic areas of a campus building like central staircases, indoor bridge, and hallways with classrooms during passing periods. To be fair, there’s still work to do (clearly from the videos and the wiggling, the controllers need some tuning), but this shows that we can navigate safety a high-traffic, human-filled space with the current state of this project! No college students were harmed in the making of this paper (my lawyers said I have to mention that).
As always, if this is something that excites you, reach out, join the working group, file tickets and PRs, and generally just get involved! We have a pretty exciting roadmap of work towards a V1.0 release of navigation and supporting new classes of vehicles and applications like:
- Ackermann steering (car-like) robots
- Gradient based perception to allow running outside of planar environments
- Integration of visual odometry / positioning
- Demo applications and interfaces
- Optimization and feature development
- More! If you come and join in, you have a great deal of influence in direction