Because ROS is a federated system of packages, there are inherently more options for the packages used to combine into a robotic system. Interfacing between these packages is mostly handled by ROS messaging. Aside from a well-defined data structure to pass between independently developed nodes, there is also a need for good timing, semantic meaning of fields, endpoint behavior expectations, etc. With ROS2, it’s also possible to run on embedded devices that may also need to conform to various standards.
All these challenges have historically been addressed by those developing the packages or devices. For ROS to continue to deliver on expectations of universal interfaces, we propose a ROS Interface Working Group to address these needs. The working group would meet regularly and discuss topics related to:
• common message interfaces and related behaviors
• driver consolidation from multiple parties on the same hardware
• develop reference implementations for embedding on devices by manufacturer
• integrate/incorporate existing, applicable standards
Deliverables would be
• The above-noted reference implementations by hardware type/class
• Incorporation of relevant and existing standards
• Voice of end-user/OEM benchmarking to understand roadblocks in adopting reference implementations
• Highlight pilot ROS 2 implementations
Please provide comment below, if this sounds like a valuable initiative, or if there is something missing. Also please indicate if you are interested in participating in such a working group. As ROS-Industrial, the initial class of hardware will be industrial manipulators, but additional classes would be welcome, and collaboration on these other classes would be of value.
SwRI/ROS-I Americas Program Manager