[ros-users] Use cases for ROS on ARM based computers

Bil Morris bill at iheartengineering.com
Sun Jan 13 00:39:21 UTC 2013

We have been evaluating Embedded/ARM based platforms, our main areas of
interest at the moment are OpenWRT based routers, Android hardware
running Ubuntu [1] / (De|Rasp)bian [2], Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone.

On the Debian side it looks like it should be feasible [3] to build
multi-arch binaries [4] to handle most Arm platforms. For systems with
limited storage, the opkg [5] format may be useful.
ARM binaries for ROS and bloom cross compile automation would be really
helpful to speed up development.

For the OpenWRT router, we were originally planning on using rosjs[6]
for robot management, but being able to run a full install of ROS on the
router opens up some interesting possibilities for integrating robot
status indicators. Given it's position in the network it may make sense
as a place accumulate local information. One example of this is where
there are multiple shared docking stations and a robot may want to check
if a dock is available before driving towards it. It may also be worth
looking at running something like multi-master bridging on the router

The Nexus 7/Ubuntu tablet is part of what we are thinking about for
human robot interaction and part of our development planning for the
TurtleBot as we currently believe that by mid 2014 a currently
non-existent Tegra 5 should be able to achieve reasonable (YMMV)
performance working with point clouds and 3D sensors.

We have been evaluating the BeagleBone and the Raspberry Pi for some
computer vision applications such as loading and unloading robots. The
BeagleBone seems to have a little better hardware for what we need [7],
however the Raspberry Pi is lower cost and seems to be somewhat popular [8].

I'm not sure about the hardware requirements, but one thing I'm thinking
about adding to our to do list is an ARM system that just runs rviz/rqt
on a huge TV with a webpage or rosservice api to manage the subscribed


[1] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Nexus7
[2] http://apc.io/order/
[3] https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/precise/armhf
[5] https://code.google.com/p/opkg/
[6] http://www.ros.org/wiki/rosjs
[8] http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3011

On 01/12/2013 04:10 PM, Tully Foote wrote:
> Hi Everyone, 
> There has been quite a bit of interest in running ROS on ARM
> architecture processors. I know of many people using ROS on ARM
> processors.  There is now instructions for installing ROS on the
> Raspberry Pi [1] [2] form source.  Thanks to everyone who's
> contributed to those installation instructions.  
> There are lots of additional steps possible for the Raspberry Pi
> specifically, such as extending the debian package buiding
> infrastructure to support armhf or developing good instructions for
> cross compiling. (Compiling natively is slow but simpler.) 
> Likewise I'm aware of several people using ROS on other ARM based
> platforms such as Gumstix, BeagleBoards and PandaBoards as well as
> others.  
> With the number of people using ROS on these processors it would be
> great to share with the community what people are working on and where
> they would like to see things go forward.  
> This might develop into it's own SIG going forward or potentially join
> the embedded SIG. [3] 
> So if anyone is using ROS on ARM or would like to do so.  Please share
> your use case(s) and hopefully we can get a group of people together
> to collaborate to build up support for ROS on ARM.  
> Tully
> [1] http://www.ros.org/wiki/groovy/Installation/Raspbian/Source
> [2] http://ros.org/wiki/ROSberryPi/Setting%20up%20ROS%20on%20RaspberryPi
> [3] http://www.ros.org/wiki/sig/Embedded
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