[ros-users] Robot Task Description Format - Potential REP

rdean at gdrs.com rdean at gdrs.com
Fri Apr 12 20:28:00 UTC 2013

You may want to check out what RoboEarth has already done, I remember from an ICRA presentation that they were sharing task descriptions between different robots.  This may or may not cover your area of interest, or may have a core lexicon you could extend.

From: ros-users-bounces at code.ros.org [mailto:ros-users-bounces at code.ros.org] On Behalf Of Edwards, Shaun M.
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 10:40 AM
To: ros-users at code.ros.org
Subject: [ros-users] Robot Task Description Format - Potential REP


Recently we have had several projects that have required us to follow a predetermined path (i.e. a set of waypoints that are determined offline)  To achieve this we have used csv or yaml files (with joint points and Cartesian positions) or in some cases just hardcoded the path in the source file.  I have searched through ROS and asked questions on ROS answers, but there doesn't seem to be anything built into ROS to support this functionality in a generic way.  To illustrate the need, here are several use cases:

*         3D model/data to robot path - Several applications require a robot path be defined using a 3D model.  For these applications, we often use a CAD system (or 3D models in general) to define the Cartesian robot path.  Example applications include, robotic painting, grinding, deburring, mold trimming, inspection, etc...  The Cartesian path is then turned into a robot joint path at runtime.

*         Robot path teaching - Not all applications require intelligent path planning.  There are some applications that can be solved (at least partially) by teaching a robot a desired path (i.e. a set of waypoints to execute repeatedly).  New robots, such as Baxter, illustrate this capability by allowing a human operator to move an arm and record waypoints.  Note, this is not as easy as simply recording joint positions.  For some applications, you may want to record Cartesian positions or specify that a path segment between waypoints be executed using a linear trajectory.  Because of these requirements, the recorded path/trajectory is more than a joint trajectory.

*         High level scripting - Several robot tasks, such as static pick and place, include lots of scripted motion and process data.  Move to A, open gripper, Move to B, close gripper.  In a typical ROS approach, positions are stored in yaml files and motion order and process data is captured in code.  Any change in the logic or order of operations requires a code change and rebuild.  A task description format could capture this information generically in a single place and allow on the fly configuration of nodes that execute the motion.  Note, that in this use case, IO operations (i.e. open gripper) are also required.

These use cases lead me to believe that a Robot Task Description Format (RTDF), similar to a URDF would be useful.  I have put together a minimal example here [1], but would like to expand upon it to meet all the requirements of the use cases above and others.

I would like to gage the community interest in the need for such a file format.  If the interest is great enough then I will move forward with creating an official REP.

Thanks for your consideration,

Shaun Edwards
Senior Research Engineer
Manufacturing System Department

Join the ROS-Industrial Developers List<https://groups.google.com/group/swri-ros-pkg-dev/boxsubscribe>
Southwest Research Institute

[1] https://github.com/mtconnect/ros_bridge/blob/master/mtconnect_example/mtconnect_cnc_robot_example/config/m16ib20/task_description.xml

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