Experimenting with a dummy robot

In this demo, we present a simple demo robot with all components from publishing joint states over publishing fake laser data until visualizing the robot model on a map in RViz.

Launching the demo

We assume your ROS 2 installation dir as ~/ros2_ws. Please change the directories according to your platform.

To start the demo, we execute the demo bringup launch file, which we are going to explain in more details in the next section.

mkdir -p ~/ros2_ws/src cd ~/ros2_ws/src git clone -b ${ROS_DISTRO} https://github.com/ros2/demos cd .. && colcon build –packages-up-to dummy_robot_bringup source ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash ros2 launch dummy_robot_bringup dummy_robot_bringup_launch.py

You should see some prints inside your terminal along the lines of the following:

[INFO] [launch]: Default logging verbosity is set to INFO
[INFO] [dummy_map_server-1]: process started with pid [2922]
[INFO] [robot_state_publisher-2]: process started with pid [2923]
[INFO] [dummy_joint_states-3]: process started with pid [2924]
[INFO] [dummy_laser-4]: process started with pid [2925]
[dummy_laser-4] [INFO] [1714837459.645517297] [dummy_laser]: angle inc:    0.004363
[dummy_laser-4] [INFO] [1714837459.645613393] [dummy_laser]: scan size:    1081
[dummy_laser-4] [INFO] [1714837459.645626640] [dummy_laser]: scan time increment:     0.000000
[robot_state_publisher-2] [INFO] [1714837459.652977937] [robot_state_publisher]: Robot initialized

If you now open RViz2 in a new terminal, you’ll see your robot. 🎉

$ source ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash
$ rviz2

This opens RViz2. Assuming you have your dummy_robot_bringup still launched, you can now add the TF display plugin and configure your global frame to world. Once you did that, you should see a similar picture:


What’s happening?

If you have a closer look at the launch file, we start a couple of nodes at the same time.

  • dummy_map_server

  • dummy_laser

  • dummy_joint_states

  • robot_state_publisher

The first two packages are relatively simple. The dummy_map_server constantly publishes an empty map with a periodic update. The dummy_laser does basically the same; publishing dummy fake laser scans.

The dummy_joint_states node is publishing fake joint state data. As we are publishing a simple RRbot with only two joints, this node publishes joint states values for these two joints.

The robot_state_publisher is doing the actual interesting work. It parses the given URDF file, extracts the robot model and listens to the incoming joint states. With this information, it publishes TF values for our robot which we visualize in RViz.