Open Robotics, a key player in the robotics sector, has recently unveiled Gazebo Harmonic, the latest version of its influential open-source simulator. This release, considered one of the most substantial in Gazebo’s history, introduces a host of new features that significantly enhance the simulation experience.
Enhancements in Gazebo Harmonic
A notable advancement in Gazebo Harmonic is the integration of Python for writing Gazebo plugins, enhancing user-friendliness and accessibility. This update is facilitated by incorporating Python bindings into various Gazebo systems like gz-msgs and gz-transport.
The simulator also introduces a more user-friendly Gazebo Command Line Interface (CLI), which now includes features like listing subscribers and topic information. Additionally, a new interactive mouse drag functionality allows users to apply forces and torques to links in simulations dynamically.
Innovations in Physics and Optics
Gazebo Harmonic advances in accurately calculating moments of inertia, as demonstrated in a comparison between cylinders with default inertial values and those with automatic inertia calculations. These improvements in physics modeling are crucial for creating more realistic simulations.
Significantly upgraded camera and optics features in Gazebo Harmonic enhance the realism of simulated cameras. The simulator now supports wide-angle lens cameras, custom intrinsic matrices, Bayer format image output, and 16-bit depth – mimicking commercial machine vision cameras.
Global Illumination and Maritime Robotics Features
Gazebo Harmonic introduces global illumination capabilities, using techniques like Voxel Cone Tracing (VCT) and Cascaded Image Voxel Cone Tracing (CIVCT). This addition, complete with configurable parameters, bolsters the simulator’s ability to replicate outdoor environments with greater authenticity.
For maritime robotics, Gazebo Harmonic includes the fluid added mass feature, aiding in power planning for vessel movement. The Doppler Velocity Log plugin is another new addition, enabling velocity measurement relative to the ground.
The acquisition of Open Source Robotics Corporation (OSRC) and its Singapore division by Intrinsic, a company born out of Alphabet’s X moonshot division, has had no disruptions on Gazebo, Open-RMF, ROS, and the community. OSRF continues as an independent entity, ensuring the ongoing development and support of these essential open-source tools.
Gazebo Harmonic stands out as a revolutionary tool in robotic simulation, offering unprecedented realism and physics capabilities. Its collaborative nature fosters a community-driven approach to innovation in robotics. With these enhancements, Gazebo Harmonic is poised to significantly influence the development and testing of robotic systems, marking a new era in the field of robotic simulation.