[ros-users] ROS MAV SIG Call for Participation

Tully Foote tfoote at osrfoundation.org
Fri Nov 7 23:38:20 UTC 2014

ROS Aerial Vehicle Users,

We’d like to invite you to participate in an effort to develop a standard
set of messages for communicating within robotics components on Micro Air
Vehicles (MAVs). At the IROS workshop on MAV’s (proceedings
<https://pixhawk.org/iros2014/proceedings/>) this fall it was identified
that the MAV community has many different implementations of the same
capabilities. They are often all closely related and are almost compatible
but rarely is it easy to switch between different implementations, or use
different implementations together. From that discussion it was proposed to
work toward building up a common way to communicate and enable the MAV
community to collaborate most effectively.

To make this happen we have setup a mailinglist and wiki pages to be a
place to coordinate this effort (MAV SIG
<http://wiki.ros.org/sig/MicroAirVehicle>, mailing list
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ros-sig-mav/Mbjm_wZM9WE>). If you
are interested in this topic we ask that you join, listen and participate
so that we can get as broad a spectrum of voices as possible.

We have chosen the ROS SIG format as it has proven effective at developing
standard messages which are used by many people every day. ROS SIG’s are
relatively unstructured and allow adaptation for differences in each
community and process.

We plan to use the ROS .msg format as a way to formalize the messages,
since it is a relatively compact way to express messages which has
representations in many languages. The most important part of the process
will not be the actual msg file that comes out, but the datatypes for which
people can rely on being isomorphic when transitioning between systems.

Having common datatypes will allow us to have better modularity and
interoperability. As an example from the ROS ecosystem, there are 10+
different laser scanner drivers in the ROS ecosystem and 18+ different
camera drivers (ROS sensors <http://wiki.ros.org/Sensors>). Because these
drivers all use a standard set of messages a user of those sensors can
switch which sensor they are using on their system, or deploy systems with
different sensors and the rest system will continue to operate without
modifications. There are more complicated examples such as the navigation
stack which has a standard set of messages for sending commands and
providing feedback. This same interface has been used for differential
drive, holonomic, free flying, and even walking robots.

There are already dozens of MAV related ROS packages released and we hope
that developing these standard messages can help coordinate the efforts of
the many contributors already working on aerial vehicles in ROS.

If you would like to know more please check out the SIG (LINK
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ros-sig-mav/Mbjm_wZM9WE>). if
you’re at all interested please join the process. We’ve started a thread at
here <https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ros-sig-mav/Mbjm_wZM9WE> to
kick off the process.

Tully Foote (OSRF), Lorenz Meier (ETHZ / CVG, PX4), Markus Achtelik (ETHZ /
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