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For blog posts prior to April 2018, visit our old site. You might also enjoy the ROS blog and the Gazebo blog.

 

 

Service Robot Simulator

In the past few months, Open Robotics worked together with Hitachi on a virtual robotics competition called ServiceSim, which focuses on human-robot interaction in an office environment. Competitors must control the ServiceBot robot to perform tasks such as finding a human guest and guiding them to their destination, while making sure the guest doesn't get lost.

The competition runs on Gazebo 8 and ServiceBot is controlled using ROS Kinetic. All the competition software, including all the SDF models of the office, from cubicles to bathrooms and coffee makers, have been released as open source, so anyone is welcome to reuse these for their own environments. The competition environment itself is also versatile and competitors can customize the task and practice in various scenarios.

Several improvements have been made to the simulation of human characters in Gazebo: they now have the ability to collide with objects in simulation and there are new plugins to make the human actors run or walk in given trajectories or while following a given target, with plenty of configuration options.

ServiceBot was modeled from scratch and its URDF description and ROS controllers are available along with the competition software. In addition, a reference solution to the competition which uses the ROS navigation stack and exercises the competition's ROS API, reading sensor data and controlling the robot, is offered as a starting point for competitors.

Hitachi and Open Robotics invite the community to try out the competition software, develop their own solutions to the tasks and try completing the competition with their own robots! Debian packages are available for Ubuntu Xenial or you can use Docker for convenience. Take a look at the tutorials to get started!

Louise Poubel