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Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ROSIN (ROS-Industrial quality-assured robot software components)


ROSIN will create a step change in the availability of high-quality intelligent robot software components for the European industry. This is achieved by building on the existing open-source “Robot Operating System” (ROS) framework and its worldwide community. ROS and...


ROSIN will create a step change in the availability of high-quality intelligent robot software components for the European industry. This is achieved by building on the existing open-source “Robot Operating System” (ROS) framework and its worldwide community. ROS and ROS-Industrial (European side led by TU Delft and Fraunhofer) are well-known, but their potential is underestimated. The two main critiques are (1) is the quality on par with industry, and (2) is there enough European industrial interest to justify investing in it? The two questions hold each other in deadlock, because further quality improvement requires industrial investment and vice versa. ROSIN will resolve the deadlock and put Europe in a leading position.
For software quality, ROSIN introduces a breakthrough innovation in automated code quality testing led by IT University Copenhagen, complemented with a full palette of quality assurance measures. Simultaneously, more ROS-Industrial tools and components will be created by making 50% of the ROSIN budget available to third parties for so-called Focused Technical Projects. These grants for developers to achieve initial results will alleviate yet another deadlock; experience shows that industry will fund ROS-Industrial developments, but only after successful delivery. Together with broad education activities
led by Fachhochshule Aachen and community-building activities led by Fraunhofer, ROSIN will let ROS-Industrial grow into a self-sustained community and a widely adopted, open-source industrial standard.

Work performed

Since the beginning of the project up to the second reporting period (Month 30, this document), significant progress has been made in all Work Packages. Project management (WP1) is being carried out according to the Description of Action, with continuous communication and collaboration amongst partners, including 7 Project Consortium meetings. In WP2, the cascade funding process for ROS-Industrial software development by third parties has already funded more than 40 Focused Technical Projects, already resulting in more than 15 new ROS packages open sources. In WP3, we designed an strategy for Quality Assurance in ROS-Industrial, which includes different methods and community engagement and adoption; and the first tools have been delivered. In WP4, an initial curriculum for ROS education has been drafted and applied in ROSIN education activities. All of this has been disseminated (WP5) through the project website, relevant social media channels and a large number of presentations at events. The highlights are the following:

The “ROSIN Focused Technical Projects (FTPs)” cascade funding (D2.1, D2.2, D2.3) started in April 2017 and is accepting submission till September 2019. In the 8 selection rounds we have already funded 39 proposals, granting a total of ~2.2M€ for a total investment of ~6.6M€ in open-source robot software (we fund 1/3 of each project), resulting in more than 15 new ROS libraries.

The quality of ROS software is another cornerstone of ROSIN. A community based quality management process has been established in D3.1, based on a requirements analysis in which an extensive collection of bugs was analysed in an international collaboration. The first intervention to modernize the ROS continuous integration service was successfully achieved and handed over to the community, together with the Quality Assurance Working Group, the Quality Discourse forum and the Quality Hub knowledge platform, ensuring the sustainability of the ROSIN QA results. In addition, ROSIN tools for QA have been delivered: CI badge (Continuous Integration tool), package_generator (MDD), MIL—based and Shape based testing and sanitizers (D.3.3), and code scanning solutions have already been applied to the entire ROS distro (finding 10 previously unknown bugs).

Work on ROS and ROS-Industrial education is proceeding with great intensity. An initial curriculum was defined for our two schooling activities, branded as ROS-I Schools, and professional trainings, branded as ROS-I Academies. It has been applied on the multiple editions of the School by FHA and the Academies set up in Stuttgart (FHG), Aachen (FHA) and Delft (TUD), and on a new MOOC by TUD, reported in D4.1 and D4.2. Due to the increased interest from the industry and the ROS community, plans to support third parties to conduct education activities have been accelerated, using the Education Projects cascade funding schema (analogue to the FTPs), and multiple ROS-I teachers have already been trained.

A clear communication strategy is being executed in WP5 to disseminate all ROSIN actions in a coordinated effort with the ROS-Industrial Consortium and other European projects, under the label “an EU Digital Industrial Platform for Robotics”. This includes dissemination through traditional media channels and new social networks relevant to the industrial and open source communities targeted, as well as presence in the most relevant international conferences, such as ROSCon and IROS, local events with industry, and the organization of 2 editions of the flagship event ROS-Industrial Conference.

Final results

Robotics research has created, and will continue to create, great advances in robot abilities such as perception, motion planning, or navigation. The ROSIN project is bringing these advances to industrial applicability through the following breakthroughs:

- The core of ROS and relevant packages for industry are being quality tested and verified. An important part of this breakthrough is the use of novel automated software quality testing algorithms. This will bring down the current perceived lack of quality so that industry will fully engage in the ROS-Industrial community.

- The ROS-Industrial community will have reached critical mass amongst industrial users. In addition, at least 1000 engineers have been trained to be active contributors to ROS-Industrial. Having critical mass ensures further self-sustained community growth.

ROSIN is propelling the open-source robot software project ROS-Industrial beyond the critical mass for self-sustainability. As a result, it will become a widely-adopted standard for industrial intelligent robot software components. System integrators, software companies, and robot producers will use the open-source framework to build their own closed- source products for their industrial customers. Exactly the same thing has happened with Linux, now being supported and developed by many influential multinationals such as Intel.

ROS-Industrial and ROS have worldwide communities. Thanks to the European investments in ROSIN and many other ongoing FP7 and H2020 projects related to ROS, European companies (both large industry as well as SMEs) have a leading role in further development, commercialization, and use of the ROS-enabled robot abilities. ROSIN strategy to target local industry through trainings in fieldlabs and innovation hubs is helping European SMEs in this direction. The positive effect is quickly expanding from industrial robots into the rapidly growing markets of agrifood, healthcare and service robotics.

ROSIN will have another potential impact: the international popularity of our cascade funding is making visible the need for supporting the software engineering required to consolidate and valorize the scientific and technical results of research projects. ROSIN is demonstrating the value of an open source strategy and direct funding for this.

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