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Hi Community, We have been working at a multi robot coordination project here at Carnegie Mellon. The framework is completely ROS based right from the robot controller to communication, front end and task allocation. While starting this project I was unable to find ROS packages catering to coordination among multiple robots. An important note here is that each robot runs its own master since we assume a failure prone network. Anyways we thought we would release some of the software we wrote that could help someone else wanting to run multi-robot systems as well. Since we are in the process of packaging and cleaning (its a university project so we really need to clean it!) our code I would like to get some suggestions on what you would desire in a Multi-Robot package. Anything from vague ideas to specific implementations is welcome.

Just a brief and high level description: There are 4 packages:

  1. Communication package - currently using UDP however we may switch to ZeroMQ. Any input on protocol is appreciated. This package will handle transmitting topics of interest to other robots on a strictly request-respond basis. This scheme worked well for us in the work we did. This is similar to MultiMaster pkg except the request-respond bit. Currently the comms can transmit Map, Pose, tf, Task (which is a goto Pose), Laser Scans, Camera Image. These topics were relevant to our work so we would appreciate inputs on other topics that might be useful communicating to other robots. One can either query another robot for any of these or request to transmit its own information. Additionally it can serve as a proxy for another robot.

  2. Robot Specific Pkg - This provides high level implementation of basic Robot capabilities. Planning, Occupancy Mapping, Task Execution (move base Action client), & Costing.

  3. Front End: Visualizes the map, pose etc from multiple robots. Additionally it can manually control, assign tasks to individual robots or to the swarm.

  4. Task Allocation: We used a proprietary market based allocation system to handle task management. Unfortunately we cannot publish that. However if you have suggestions on task management systems we might be able to port some of it in this package.

Sorry for the long post. We would really appreciate suggestions, concerns and comments in this multi-robot framework.

Thanks Ammar

Originally posted by Ammar on ROS Answers with karma: 289 on 2012-08-16

Post score: 0

Original comments

Comment by jbohren on 2012-08-16:
I think this might actually be something you should post to ros-users: https://code.ros.org/mailman/listinfo/ros-users

Comment by PerkinsJames on 2012-08-16:
I dont understand how you say everything is ROS based but then say you may switch to ZeroMQ (even though there is multimaster). Can you give more info on your switch to zeromq? Thanks

Comment by Ammar on 2012-08-16:
Well ZeroMQ and UDP are the communication protocol. These are external to ROS since the communication takes places between different roscores running

Comment by aamir on 2015-03-23:
Hi! I would love to know what happened to this project? Was it released, still under development? Thanks!

Comment by pablocesar on 2015-12-24:
Hi guys, I'm currently implementing zeroMQ to distribute my applications (working nicely so far), and I'm really interested in using it with ROS, I'll developed a few little projects and share them, but, honestly, for all of us would be great to know further about what happened with this project.

Comment by adrianohrl on 2016-10-08:
Have you released this package in ROS community? I'm looking for ROS-based MRTA frameworks. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


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ROS developers working on similar issues have formed a multi-master special interest group. It turns out to be a surprisingly hard problem.

They will be very interested in the work you are doing.

Originally posted by joq with karma: 25443 on 2012-08-16

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 3

Original comments

Comment by Ammar on 2012-08-16:
Yes the Multimaster group is definitely trying to handle the same issue. However we based our system entirely on coordination between robots. Seems like Multimaster is attempting to access generic topics over a network between different ros masters.


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