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Freedom Robotics Introducing: ROS 2 Support

Hans Lee (CTO)
Hans Lee (CTO) | 2 min read
Jul 29, 2019 |

Product Announcement

Today we are announcing ROS 2 support for the Freedom Robotics’ platform.

I have had the opportunity to sit down with many of our customers and roboticists in the industry over the last few years to chat about ROS 2. Originally, everyone was asking if anyone else was using ROS 2, but no one was actually jumping in.

After coming back from the Boston Robotics Summit, having AWS, Microsoft and others starting to invest in bringing ROS 2 to maturity, and with the latest release of ROS 2 Dashing in May, we now see more companies adding ROS 2 test integrations to their road maps. There is still a very long way for ROS 2 to go, but the core of the platform seems to have met many company’s minimum stability and feature constraints with this release.

In a survey by Freedom of 157 roboticist in Q4 2019, 22% of them said they were looking at ROS 2, with the majority of them focusing on Python over C++.



Get ROS 2 Running In 5 Minutes On Freedom

So, let's have you try it out! As with ROS 1, there is nothing you have to do to enable ROS 2 integrations. The Freedom Agent will track when ROS 2 launches and automatically subscribe, interact with and manage the lifecycle of the system.

Steps to converting to ROS 2:

  1. In your SETTINGS -> ROS, clear your workspace path.
  2. In your device, go to SETTINGS -> INSTALLATION. In advanced settings, choose ROS 2.
  3. Copy and paste the `curl` link to re-install.
  4. Source, then run any ROS 2 launch file and you are fully running!


There Are Still Challenges With ROS 2

The biggest challenge which still remains for new teams jumping in to ROS 2 is porting all of the packages cleanly from ROS 1. As there has not been a concerted effort to build mature ports of all the core libraries, each team will need to be very careful to test out both the functionality and stability of each library. 

The ROS 1 / ROS 2 bridge allows teams to migrate slowly to ROS 2, however from a deployment and stability side, doubles the infrastructure, installation dependencies and has lower performance than just running a single version.

Additionally, as many ROS 1 packages are still only implemented for ROS Kinetic on Ubuntu 16.04, the new versions of ROS 2 which run on 18.04 will cause head-aches as the ROS 1 packages have to be hand-ported and recompiled locally on 18.04.

Picknik AI interviewed a set of ROS users and has created a solid review of current key challenges.


Summing Up ROS 2

We are looking forward to seeing what our community does with ROS 2 and the ways they work around these challenges as ROS 2 matures fully over the next few years.

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