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Previous DocumentPrintSearch this CD-ROM-----------------------------------Design and Use Paradigms for Gazebo, AnOpen-Source Multi-Robot SimulatorNathan Koenig, Andrew HowardRobotics Research Labs, University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA 90089-0721, USAEmail: [email protected], [email protected]—Simulators have played a critical role in roboticsresearch as tools for quick and efficient testing of newconcepts, strategies, and algorithms. To date, most simulatorshave been restricted to 2D worlds, and few have maturedto the point where they are both highly capable and easilyadaptable. Gazebo is designed to fill this niche by creatinga 3D dynamic multi-robot environment capable of recreatingthe complex worlds that will be encountered by the next gen-eration of mobile robots. Its open source status, fine grainedcontrol, and high fidelity place Gazebo in a unique position tobecome more than just a stepping stone between the drawingboard and real hardware: data visualization, simulation ofremote environments, and even reverse engineering of black-box systems are all possible applications.Gazebo is developed in cooperation with the Playerand Stage projects [1], [2], [3], and is available fromhttp://playerstage.sourceforge.net/gazebo/gazebo.html.I. INTRODUCTIONThe Player and Stage projects have been in developmentsince 2001, during which time they have experienced widespread usage in both academia and industry. Player is anetworked device server, and Stage is a simulator for largepopulations of mobile robots in complex 2D domains. Anatural complement for these two projects is a high fidelityoutdoor dynamics simulator; this has taken form in theGazebo project.The development of Gazebo has been driven by theincreasing use of robotic vehicles for outdoor applications.While Stage is quite capable of simulating the interactionsbetween robots in indoor environments, the need for asimulator capable of modeling outdoor environments andproviding realistic sensor feedback have become apparent.Gazebo, therefore, is designed to accurately reproducethe dynamic environments a robot may encounter. All sim-ulated objects have mass, velocity, friction, and numerousother attributes that allow them to behave realistically whenpushed, pulled, knocked over, or carried. These actionscan be used as integral parts of an experiment, such asconstruction or foraging.The robots themselves are dynamic structures composedof rigid bodies connected via joints. Forces, both angularand linear, can be applied to surfaces and joints to generatelocomotion and interaction with an environment. The worlditself is described by landscapes, extruded buildings, andother user created objects. Almost every aspect of the sim-ulation is controllable, from lighting conditions to frictioncoefficients.Following the principles established by Player and Stage,Gazebo is completely open source and freely available (amajor advantage over most commercially available pack-ages). As a result, Gazebo has an active base of contributerswho are rapidly evolving the package to meet their ever-changing needs.Gazebo offers a rich environment to quickly developand test multi-robot systems in new and interesting ways.It is an effective, scalable, and simple tool that has alsopotential for opening the field of robotics research to awider community; thus, for example, Gazebo is beingconsidered for use in undergraduate teaching.This paper describes the basic architecture of the Gazebopackage, and illustrates its use and extensibility through anumber of user case-studies. We also give some attentionto future directions for this package.II. PLAYER AND STAGEGazebo has been developed from the ground up to befully compatible with the Player device server. The hard-ware simulated in Gazebo is designed to accurately reflectthe behavior of its physical counterpart. As a result, a clientprogram sees an identical interface to a real and simulatedrobot. This feature allows Gazebo to be seamlessly insertedinto the development process of a robotic system.Even though it is compatible with Player, Gazebo isnot meant as a replacement for the Stage simulator. Thecomplexity of simulating rigid body dynamics coupled witha 3D environment can severely tax even a high performancecomputer. This has the effect of limiting Gazebo to thedomain a few robots, currently on the order of ten. On theother hand, Stage provides a robust and efficient simulatorfor projects that require large robot populations or do notrequire the full capabilities of Gazebo.III. RELATED WORKGazebo is far from being the only choice for a 3Ddynamics simulator. It is however one of the few thatattempts to create realistic worlds for the robots rather thanjust human users. As more advanced sensors are developedand incorporated into Gazebo the line between simulationand reality will continue to blur, but accuracy in terms ofrobot sensors and actuators will remain an overriding goal.A few notable systems include COSIMIR [4], developedat Festo. This is a commercial package primarily designed0-7803-8463-6/04/$20.00 ©2004 IEEEProceedings of 2004 IEEE/RSJ International Conference onIntelligent Robots and SystemsSeptember 28 - October 2, 2004, Sendai, Japan2149ModelWorldInterfaceBoxPlaneSphereCylinderRayBodyHingeHinge 2−axisBall and SocketSliderUniversalJointCameraLaserOdometerSensorClientOpen Dynamics EngineGLUT*0,1 0..n**1..nData/CmdsShared MemoryGazeboDataCommandsFig. 1. General Structure of Gazebo componentsfor industrial simulation of work flows with robotic sys-tems, but is also applicable to robotic research. COSIMIRhas advanced modeling and physical simulation capabil-ities that go well beyond the capabilities of Gazebo. Itincorporates many types of grippers, the ability to programmovement in non-robotic models such as assembly lines,and has tools for analysis of the simulated systems. Anothercommercial package is Webots [5] created by Cyberbotics.Webots allows for the creation of robots using a library ofpredefined actuators and sensors. When system testing inthe simulator is complete, a user can transfer their code toreal robots. The principle purpose of Webots is researchand development. Cyberbotics is also developing a Playerinterface for compatibility with a wider range of devices.Darwin2K [6] and OpenSim [7] represent two opensource robot simulators developed along similar lines asGazebo. Darwin 2K was created by Chris Leger at CarnegieMellon University as a tool for


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