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Smart Attachment Protocol

This is a repost.

Is there a standard or similar project that has smart attachments?

What standard would we use to communicate between a ROS system on an attachment and ROS system on a robot? Would there be multiple channels? (.ie wifi and CANbus)

Has this been solved in ROS Health, with multi-manufacturer robotic hospitals? Or Autoware with vehicle to vehicle communication?


I am not familiar with a “general” solution to this challenge, in ros-health (Hospitals) or other settings, for that matter. Coming up with an approach that works in many different application domains, physical bus protocols, classes of sensor and actuator attachments, impacts on motion planning, etc., is challenging in many ways.

It’s certainly a very interesting topic though! I’d suggest just rapid-prototyping lots of ideas to see what sticks, to avoid getting slowed down by a grand unified theory of attachments. But that’s just me :rofl:

Could you clarify what an “attachment” is here?

Is it a piece of hardware that may be connected and disconnected from a larger piece of equipment (ie: an implement attached to a tractor in an agricultural setting)?

Yes, a piece of hardware that may be connected and disconnected. For example could be a sprayer, seeder or mechanical weeder.

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In agriculture ISOBUS is king.

I would say you would need a ROS ISOBUS node.


Since vehicle-to-vehicle communication is by nature wireless, most people these days are focusing on using Internet-over-5G-modem to achieve it. Autoware itself currently does not have any built-in capability for this but because it’s ROS 1, using native ROS is not feasible. Most commonly I have seen gateways that go between ROS and some common web communication technology.

I know this is a bit off topic, but developing standard open source design’s for mechanical power, electrical power and data, and hydraulic power implement coupling systems would be great. The gangl docking system looks pretty good (if you dont know, youtube will tell you). I believe they have a patent, but i dont know what it does and doesn’t cover.

I’m using a triangle quick hitch on my autonomous tractor project because i think it is mechanically appropriate for automation, and is compatible with my existing tractor attachments. I would like to settle on a standard heavy duty electrical connection that i could incorporate into the latch mechanism, which might someday be used for autonomous battery changing or providing power to the attachment. I made a video for anyone who might know what kind of socket i should get.

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Hi John,

Cool robot! For electrical connectors some people are using Anderson Power

Also interested in working on standard connections with you.


I second Anderson Powerpoles. They’re used extensively in the RC aircraft world because they’re strong, easy to crimp and assemble, can be put into custom blocks, are easy to connect and disconnect, but don’t pull apart when your battery falls out while the plane is inverted.

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I work in Agriculture (autosteering) and I can tell you for a fact ISOBUS is the way to go. That’s the standard and that’s what everyone implements towards.

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