View Full Version : Robot/Environment Interaction Simulation?

07-04-2015, 07:21 PM
Hi All,

New to robotic simulation/modeling and I've got a few questions I'm hoping someone could advise on. I'm looking for a software which would allow me to model interactions between a robot and virtual environment. I'd like to be able to define the sensor capabilities of the robot as well as a fairly basic environment in an effort to test out some navigational algorithms with a visual interface? Is there any freeware available to do accomplish this or is ditching the visual interface and writing in MATLAB the way to go? I've come across ROS and Gezebo so far and have been researching those in parallel. Hoping someone with a bit more experience can provide some insight.


07-04-2015, 08:14 PM
It depends a bit on how much time you intend to invest in this. Learning ROS+Gazebo can take a bit of time, but once everything is configured it can be tested and expanded easily with user code and recorded/fake sensor inputs. There are 'nicer' simulation systems like MORSE, but I've never used it before. There were some efforts to make 'pretty' simulations using Unity or Unreal Engine, but would require a lot more custom code just to get up and running and would hog resources that could otherwise be dedicated to performing sensor processing and navigation. If it is just a single project for a single class and not likely to be used again, it might be easy enough to just build simple 2D maps out of arrays/matrices in your favorite language. Would still require a bit of custom code to get everything up and running just to play with your navigation code.

Another forum-goer that has not posted in a while wrote a book on learning ROS with a bit of focus on Gazebo (http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1109044).
Two of their older posts introducing ROS+Gazebo:
Then a newer post specific to navigation testing in Gazebo:

OT: ...really annoyed that the idjits in Atlanta legalized fireworks for consumers/non-professionals.

07-04-2015, 11:41 PM
OT: ...really annoyed that the idjits in Atlanta legalized fireworks for consumers/non-professionals.

On the bright side, you can now use those as robot armament!

07-12-2015, 08:07 AM
I agree, Gazebo is the way to go if you're invested in the long run.
If it's a shorter project, then an easy and powerful program I've used before is Webots (http://www.cyberbotics.com/webots/), but unfortunately it's not free. You can however try it out with a 30-day trial.

07-17-2015, 07:57 PM
Perfect, thanks guys. Ya, it's short term enough that a quick and dirty 2D array layout will probably be best. Still seems worth starting the learning process for ROS/Gezebo though. A future weekend project.