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Microsoft Announces Experimental Release of Robot Operating System for Windows

This week at ROSCon 2018 in Madrid, Microsoft has announced an “experimental” release of Robot Operating System (ROS) for Windows.

Microsoft says with RCS it’s looking forward to “bring the intelligent edge to robotics” across home, education, commercial and industrial robots.

In order to contribute to the next generation of manufacturing referred to as “Industry 4.0,” Microsoft has joined ROS Industrial Consortium, whose focus is on extending ROS to manufacturing as well as improving on productivity and return on investment (ROI) of industrial robots.

Microsoft is also working with Open Robotics to bring ROS1 to Windows.

ROS is a set of libraries and tools that help in building complex robots. As of September 2018, Core ROS had already been ported to Windows. “This development will bring “manageability and security of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise” to the innovative ROS ecosystem,” Microsoft said.

With ROS for Windows, Microsoft says developers can use Visual Studio along with rich Artificial Intelligence (AI) and various other cloud features, including “Windows Machine Learning, computer vision, Azure Cognitive Services, Azure IoT cloud” in building robots.

At the ROSCon, Microsoft already has demonstrated “a Robotis Turtlebot 3 robot” running the ROS release known as “Melodic Morenia.”

“This robot runs Windows 10 IoT Enterprise on an Intel Coffee Lake NUC using a new ROS node that leverages hardware-accelerated Windows Machine Learning,” explained Microsoft.

The robot recognizes and steers toward the person closest.

In addition, the company also showcased a ROS simulation environment running in Azure.

Also, It has demonstrated a swarm of robots running in a virtual world connected to an orchestration system and controlled via Azure IoT Hub.

Microsoft says, they will host Windows builds for ROS1, shortly followed by ROS2.

And, it will also provide documentation, development and deployment solutions for Windows.

Those interested in ROS for Windows and ROS with Azure can get started with thisĀ guide.

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