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ROS: the force behind the acceleration in robot research?

This weekend sees the fifth ROSCon take place in Stuttgart, Germany. The conference is dedicated to the Robot Operating System (ROS), which many believe has revolutionised robotics.

Prior to ROS, robot engineers had no common platform on which to communicate and collaborate which meant that hardware and software systems had to be built from the ground up every time. 

The industry was crying out for an open-source platform on which engineers could build robotic programs and apps; it’s since the advent of ROS that innovation has picked up speed.

Invented by research center Willow Garage , ROS has become the leading platform for robotics largely because of its unrivaled integration with prior frameworks. Familiarity with it is much sought and it’s become a requirement in many high-profile DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) projects.

The platform is now overseen by the Open Source Robotics Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, in order to ensure that is remains easy to share and distribute. 

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