A massive database of resources, repositories, and methods, ROS (Robot Operating System) is the lingua franca of the robotics world. Industry experts and amateurs alike rely on ROS to support robot programming across varying platforms. From basic exercises at coding camps for beginners to enterprise solutions such as Kinesis from Tomahawk Robotics, countless products are built on its architecture. And as an open-source framework, its libraries and resources grow daily.
With such a massive knowledge base of principles, commands, and applications to learn, getting started with ROS can seem overwhelming. The great news is that there are practically just as many resources available for those who are new to the robotics world, and for those who just need to brush up on some commands. Consider this article as a guide to point you to what we believe are the top 5 resources for the ROS integration challenges you face.
What better place to start than the source? Curated by the Open Source Robotic Foundation, the tutorial site on wiki.ros.org/ROS/Tutorials comprises the single largest collection of courses, resources, and documentation related to ROS. The table of contents is intuitively organized with basic concepts listed out for beginners, then those with intermediate skills. From installing and configuring your ROS environment to running ROS across multiple machines, the breadth and attention to detail of the articles make this an ideal resource for learners of ROS.
Udacity Nanodegree Program
For those who are seeking a rigorous education of ROS, we would recommend Udacity’s Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree Program. Taking approximately four months to complete, this program offers a system-focused approach for those learning the science of robot programming with ROS. In addition to its stimulating curriculum, students are also provided one-on-one mentors and personal career coaching, in addition to other perks.
Robot Ignite Academy
The Construct, a hub for ROS developers has established the Robot Ignite Academy. A monthly subscription service, students are offered a wealth of courses based on specific skills and principles within the ROS world. Courses range from "ROS for Beginners" which cover basic concepts and key terms to courses that explore complex concepts such as artificial intelligence and cutting edge applications like self-driving cars. Most any integration challenge a developer might be confronted with is represented by Robot Ignite Academy.
Don’t overthink it — any possible concept under the sun has a tutorial associated with it on the most popular video-sharing platform in the world. Obviously, the risks need to be addressed upfront; as there is no fact-checking firewall between the content creators and wide-eyed students of ROS, we strongly recommend researching the source and the credibility of the content. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend YouTube if there weren’t several channels that legitimately and diligently showcase highly educative content. A few to consider, Wired, Robotic Systems Lab, and The Linux Foundation all offer fantastic videos based on ROS fundamentals and principles.
With the overwhelming amount of online resources and the ever-growing alternatives to traditional education – don’t forget what came first. Universities often provide resources free of charges such as academic articles, videos, and updates on innovative research. University of Illinois, Oregon State University, and Stanford University are just a few examples that specifically provide resources for ROS programming and applications.
There’s no shortage of resources to consider in this process and for extra insight into the world of ROS and its applications, visit tomahawkrobotics.com/kinesis/.