Short-term WG about URDF / description formats

Dear ROS Community,

Some days ago, we had a discussion (URDF improvements) about URDF and other description formats. As @peci1 requested, it could be convenient to bring this topic to the TSC, but before that, I think we need a consensus among experts and interested parts. I think there were different opinions in that thread and no conclusions.

I propose to organize a short-term working group to try to have a consensus about this topic. I am not an expert in URDF, but as a community rep, I will organize this working group and bring any conclusion to TSC. I would like to involve experts such as @Daniella1, @peci1, @olivier.michel, @clalancette, @traversaro, @gavanderhoorn, @kisg, @ahcorde, @davetcoleman, @jrivero, and many other people from the community that would like to participate.

I propose to start with this ST-WG the next week. This is the meeting info:
ST-WG WG about URDF / description formats
2023-04-20T17:30:00Z (1 hour)
Link to the meeting:

I hope to see the interested people there!!



I would say that you should include @azeey and @scpeters. They are the SDFormat maintainers

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Yes!! Please, name in this thread to everyone who you think can contribute to the discussion.

As a reminder, you should submit this to the events calendar

Thanks a lot for organizing this, Francisco! I’ll try to be there, although the time is a bit difficult for me.

Don’t think this got added to the calendar yet.

I added it to the official OSRF calendar.


Thanks a lot for organizing this @fmrico !

I would be interested in the WG as well. I am using the formal URDF model as the backbone of the kinematics IDE I am working on: Desktop and Web based textual and graphical toolchain for kinematics modeling.mp4 on Vimeo

While I used to be very involved in the URDF standard, I am unable to participate in this discussion. I’d be happy to have someone from PickNik support this effort though.

Looks like I missed the meeting. Any updates? When would be the next one?

Dear all,

The notes and presentation of the meeting are in this folder.. Please, comment the notes to complete if something is missing.

The starting point of the work is at urdfdom repo, in a standard <simulation> tag to be accepted by simulators. (correct me if I am wrong, @clalancette)

The next meeting will be in 2-3 weeks.



Thanks a lot @fmrico for organizing the first meeting! I really appreciate it.


I think the first task we identified is to take the documentation that is currently at urdf/XML/model - ROS Wiki and move that into urdfdom/xsd at master · ros/urdfdom · GitHub . Once that is in place, we can update both the wiki and the ROS 2 documentation to point to that.

@clalancette please check my post here: URDF improvements - #42 by ipa-hsd
I have already started the work on using the XSD and generating classes and documentation from it.

An initial version of documentation auto-generated from the schema is hosted here: JSON type schema for 'kinematics'

I have also pushed a simplified version (also auto-generated) of the doc to the repo: urdf-model/ at main · ipa-hsd/urdf-model · GitHub

I will try to include these auto-generation scripts in the CI in the coming days - which ideally should be triggered whenever there are changes to the ecore meta-model

I started working on this at [Draft] Move specification from ROS wiki to the urdfdom repo by traversaro · Pull Request #183 · ros/urdfdom · GitHub . The conversion from the wiki is not complete, but early comments are welcome by anyone interested.

I’ve randomly stumbled upon this writeup which also has a lot of good points: URDF2 .