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24 April 2012, 13:03

New version of ROS robot operating system arrives

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ROS Fuerte Turtle artwork

For the newest version of the ROS open source robot operating system, the developers have substantially revised their software. In this release, which is code-named "Fuerte Turtle", they completely rewrote the central libraries to improve interoperability and make them usable with other robotics frameworks.

ROS Fuerte Turtle includes version 1.0 of the Gazebo simulator environment, which has a new user interface that has been migrated from WxWidgets to Qt. The developers say that this change provides improved integration under Mac OS X. The RViz visualisation tool has also been migrated to Qt. ROS Fuerte Turtle also includes version 1.5 of the Point Cloud Library (PCL), with the long-awaited object-tracking library.

ROS is primarily intended to be used with Ubuntu distributions but can also be installed on Debian and Red Hat systems. It does run, albeit with limited compatibility, on Mac OS X, Windows and Android (through ROS Java). The procedure for upgrading to Fuerte Turtle from the previous version, Electric Turtle, is described in the project's wiki.

ROS provides drivers and libraries and has features for controlling sensors, motors and other hardware, and for exchanging messages and data between services. Many add-on packages allow the system's functionality to be extended in a modular way. ROS is used on well-known robotics platforms such as the PR2 and is licensed under a variety of OSI-approved licences, with a preference for the BSD License.


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