NVIDIA Isaac ROS adds new fleet management tools for Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Robot Operating Systems (ROS) are extremely popular with roboticists and researchers everywhere, building intelligent robot applications in manufacturing and fulfillment centers that are constantly reconfigured and scaled up to meet product demands.

They offer many software libraries and tools, including frameworks, algorithms, sensors, and robot platforms, making it easy to start robotics projects and accelerate the overall development and deployment of autonomous robots.

Isaac ROS is NVIDIA’s open ecosystem with hardware accelerated packages, edge-to-cloud computing, and powerful software stacks for AI-enabled Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) that make it easier for ROS developers to build high-performance solutions on NVIDIA hardware. NVIDIA Isaac ROS consists of individual packages (GEMs) and complete pipelines (NITROS) for hardware-accelerated performance.

What is new about the Isaac ROS is that at the ongoing ROSCon 2022, NVIDIA has announced a new Isaac ROS software release, Developer Preview (DP) 2, which includes new cloud– and edge-to-robot task management and monitoring software for autonomous mobile robot (AMR) fleets, as well as additional features for ROS 2 developers.

In addition to performance improvements, the new release adds the following functionality:

  • Mission Dispatch and Client: An open-source CPU package to assign and monitor tasks from a fleet management system to the robot. Mission Dispatch is a cloud-native microservice that can be integrated into larger fleet management systems.
  • FreeSpace Segmentation: A hardware-accelerated package for producing a vision AI–based occupancy grid in the robot’s proximity to be used as an input to the navigation stack.
  • 264 Video Encode and Decode: Hardware-accelerated packages for compressed video data recording and playback. Video data collection is an important part of training AI perception models. The performance of these new GEMs on the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin platform measured at 2x 1080p stereo cameras at 30 fps (>120 fps total), reducing data footprint by ~10x.

Mission Dispatch and Client

Mission Dispatch and Client provide a standard, open-source way to assign and track tasks between a fleet management system and ROS 2 robots. Dispatch and Client communicate using VDA5050, an open standard for communications designed specifically for robot fleets. Messages are transmitted wirelessly over MQTT, a lightweight messaging protocol for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Mission Dispatch and Client
The architecture of Mission Dispatch and Mission Client Software

Mission Dispatch is a containerized micro-service available for download from NGC or as source code on Isaac GitHub and can be integrated into fleet management systems. Mission Dispatch has been verified to interoperate with other open-source ROS 2 clients, like the recently announced VDA5050 Connector developed by OTTO Motors and InOrbit AI.

Mission Client, which is compatible with ROS 2 Humble, is available as a package in Isaac ROS GitHub and pre-integrated with the Nav2 navigation stack to assign and track navigation and other tasks on the robot.

“As mobile robot deployment in the real world accelerates, interoperability is becoming increasingly critical,” said Ryan Gariepy, CTO at OTTO Motors. “Bridging VDA5050 with ROS2 as an open-source community will promote innovation in fleet management solutions while allowing robot makers to focus on differentiation.”

NVIDIA Isaac ROS Performance

Isaac ROS continues to deliver hardware-accelerated performance for the ROS 2 developer community for AI perception, image processing, and navigation. Autonomous robots require advanced AI and computer vision capabilities. NVIDIA Isaac ROS represents our commitment to making it easier for the robotics community to adopt these cutting-edge technologies.

For more information about the latest performance numbers for key Isaac ROS packages, see Isaac ROS Performance Summary.

Free Training for ROS 2 Developers

To provide advanced technical training and access to NVIDIA Isaac ROS experts, NVIDIA is announcing a new series of webinars focused on ROS 2 developers. These free sessions feature Q&A periods with the technical experts developing accelerated modules for ROS 2.

The first three webinar topics:

  • Nov 14, 2022: Pinpoint, 250 fps, ROS 2 localization with vSLAM on NVIDIA Jetson, led by Dr. Raffaello Bonghi.
  • December 2022: Using Isaac ROS for Stereo-Based Depth Estimation, led by Hemal Shah
  • December 2022: Building an Isaac ROS accelerated module using YOLOv5, led by Asawaree Bandhi

Developers can register here for the Nov 14 session and are requested to check back soon as more webinars will be added to the series.

ROSCon 2022

If you are attending ROSCon in Kyoto, Japan, visit NVIDIA at booth #22 to see a live demonstration of Isaac ROS in action running on the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin Developer Kit.

To get started today with NVIDIA Isaac ROS, review the examples summarized in the /NVIDIA-ISAAC-ROS GitHub repo.