So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Operating Systems for Robotics

New Scientist covered the recent IJCAI Robotics Event.  One of the themes of the workshop and event was maximizing the potential for AI research and Robotics research to co-mingle.  A major challenge in this respect is a lack of “out of the box” hardware platforms and software architectures for people to play around with.   In the software department, people are talking about this as the need for an Operating System for robots.

This is what Microsoft would like Robotics Developer Studio to be.  Willow Garage would like to see standardization around ROS.  And as they mention on their wikipage, there have been so many of these kinds of projects in the past aiming for standards in the robot software/hardware interface.

I think it will be great when any of these projects gets the kind of critical mass that will create a standardization around it.  To some extent, I don’t even care which one it is, but I do feel that an open source solution like ROS is going to be the most successful.  The community of developers that need a Robot OS right now are definitely not waiting for someone else to deliver what they need.  They are currently rolling their own solutions and the best way to create a standard is to direct that collective energy towards the same end.

The New Scientist article points to some of the current barriers to a standard OS, each robot out there has unique hardware and is often designed for a specific purpose and its software is optimized for that purpose.

In addition to this, when I’ve had conversations with people about standardization, the biggest barrier seems to be that everyone has their way of getting things done now that works for them, and they’d prefer everyone standardize to their way.  But in the end, as said well by Chad Jenkins and Brian Gerkey, the frustration of endless re-implementation will eventually drive us to standardize.

August 10th, 2009 Posted by | Conferences, In the News | no comments