ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group 2022 dissemination report and feedback request

Dear all,

Hoping 2023 started fine for everyone. We’ve put together a summary of the activities and impact over the last year concerning hardware acceleration activities. The report herein follows from the one produced in 2021 and is intended to serve as a resource for those interested in following the activities of the ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group.

New projects during 2022

  • RobotPerf, RobotPerf provides an open reference benchmarking suite that is used to evaluate robotics computing performance fairly with ROS 2 as its common baseline, so that robotic architects can make informed decisions about the hardware and software components of their robotic systems.
  • Robotics MCU: an open source software and hardware ROS 2 microcontroller unit (MCU) powered by RISC-V. The project’s goal is to design and develop an open source software and hardware robotics microcontroller unit (Robotics MCU) powered by RISC-V that delivers lower latency and additional real-time capabilities in ROS 2 MCU interactions. The ultimate objective of the project is to design an MCU that contains a native ROS 2 hardware implementation.
  • Robotics Processing Unit: a robot-specific processing unit that uses hardware acceleration and maps robotics computations efficiently to its CPUs, FPGAs and GPUs to obtain best performance. In particular, it specializes in improving the Robot Operating System (ROS 2) related robot computational graphs on underlying compute resources.

Tracking progress

Key milestones

Year Objective
21 :white_check_mark: 1) Design tools and conventions to seamlessly integrate acceleration kernels and related embedded binaries into the ROS 2 computational graphs leveraging its existing build system (ament_acceleration extensions) [1], meta build tools (colcon-acceleration extension) and a new firmware layer (acceleration_firmware) [2].
21 :white_check_mark: 2) Provide reference examples and blueprints for acceleration architectures used in ROS 2 and Gazebo.
21 :white_check_mark: 3) REP-2008 (ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Architecture and Conventions) first draft proposed PR
22 :white_check_mark: 4) Facilitate testing environments that allow to benchmark accelerators with special focus on power consumption and time spent on computations (see HAWG benchmarking approach, community#9, tracetools_acceleration, ros2_kria)
22 :white_check_mark: 5) Survey the community interests on acceleration for ROS 2 and Gazebo (see discourse announcement, survey, result).
22 :white_check_mark: 6) Produce demonstrators with robot components, real robots and fleets that include acceleration to meet their targets (see acceleration_examples).
22 :white_check_mark: 7) Acceleration of complete ROS 2 computational graphs Methodology for ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration · Issue #20 · ros-acceleration/community · GitHub
22 :x:[3] 8) Merge first hardware accelerators (kernels) into upstream packages (candidate: image_pipeline, see image_pipeline instrumented at #717 )
22 :white_check_mark: 9) Documentation and a “methodology to hardware accelerate a ROS 2 package” (see #20)
22 :x:[4] 10) Organize workshops on robotics and ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration
22 :construction: 11) Robotic Processing Unit, first demonstrators #25
22 :white_check_mark: 12) REP-2008 (ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Architecture and Conventions) accepted as an official standard
22 :white_check_mark: 13) REP-2014 (Benchmarking performance in ROS 2) first draft proposed PR
23 :construction: 11) REP-2014 (Benchmarking performance in ROS 2)
23 :construction: 14) More vendor support. Will work to enable new silicon solutions
23 :construction: 15) Robotics MCU #31 milestone 1
23 :construction: 16) RobotPerf benchmarks
23 :construction: 17) Robotic Processing Unit, first demonstrators #25

Tracking outreach and dissemination

Shortly, the ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group (HAWG) launched new projects in 2022 and achieved a 3.7x growth in outreach over 2021, engaging with more than 1M roboticists within the robotics WG activities during the last year.

See ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group 2022 dissemination report · Issue #34 · ros-acceleration/community · GitHub for a complete report.

Goals for 2023

The Hardware Acceleration Working Group has grown significantly over 2022. The working group has several key objectives for 2023. The first objective is to develop and publish a comprehensive set of benchmarking tools packed in a suite (RobotPerf) for measuring the performance and efficiency of various software components (ROS packages) and hardware solutions commonly used in robotics. This will enable members of the working group to accurately compare and evaluate the performance of different hardware options and make informed decisions about which components to use in their own projects.

The second objective is to increase the number of vendors participating in the working group. By engaging in targeted outreach and engagement efforts, the group aims to bring more vendors on board, which will provide more options for members and increase the overall diversity of hardware components available for testing and evaluation.

The third objective is to increase the number of collaborations with industry partners. This will gather practical experience and feedback on the performance of hardware acceleration techniques in real-world robotics applications and will also increase the working group’s visibility and impact.

The fourth objective is to continue investing resources in the ongoing strategic projects announced during 2022. In particular RobotPerf, Robotics MCU and the Robotics Processing Unit.

Altogether, the objectives for the coming year look as follows:

Year Objective
23 :construction: 11) REP-2014 (Benchmarking performance in ROS 2)
23 :construction: 14) More vendor support. Will work to enable new silicon solutions
23 :construction: 15) Robotics MCU #31 milestone 1
23 :construction: 16) RobotPerf benchmarks
23 :construction: 17) Robotic Processing Unit, first demonstrators #25

Any input regarding the new goals and/or the activities is welcome.


  1. See ament_vitis ↩︎

  2. See acceleration_firmware_kv260 for an exemplary vendor extension of the acceleration_firmware package ↩︎

  3. Did not get buy-in from maintainers. Stopped the effort. ↩︎

  4. Discarded for ROSCon and IROS. Lots of work. ↩︎

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