What is ROS? A Comprehensive Overview In 4 Points


Technology’s purpose these days is to revolutionize in a way to make human tasks simple with every minute. Robots had been introduced to not only help humans in doing work efficiently but also remove any restrictions which humans face while doing certain jobs, and this is the reason major companies are entering into the robotics industry now. Now, understanding robots calls for a deep understanding of the robot operating system, i.e., ros, used for writing the robot software. From agriculture to medical to automation industries, today, this software is being used across various industries.

  1. What is ROS
  2. Linux
  3. Building Blocks
  4. Tools

1) What is ROS

ROS or the robot operating system is one of the major tools in the robotics industry. It is a bundle of software tools to create robotic applications and setting a standard for new software. Once you have developed a base code, then you can use the same across any kind of future software, be it drones, Mobiles, etc. Basically, you can keep reusing your knowledge once developed and, in turn, stop reinventing the robotics software. In other words, it allows for support to new inventions in the robotics industry. 

Now, ros is not an ordinary software that provides an interface between applications and the hardware. It is, in fact, a meta operating system which means it takes the assistance of another operating system while performing tasks. Also, such an operating system should be open-source to enable modification whenever necessary as and when the application needs. This is because ros framework is used for a multitude of purposes and to prepare it for different purposes requires different contributions. Since ros places so much importance on the underlying operating system, it is essential to understand the operating system. 

ROS has been developing rapidly, and now, with the introduction of ROS 2, we can easily say robotics market share will grow at a rapid rate. Now, with a robot operating system, there is a package for everything you need, and that’s the reason it is one of the biggest robotics developer communities in the world. Even non-professionals and robotics enthusiasts can also enter this field of the robotics industry. 

2) Linux

As said before, ros is a meta operating system that depends on another operating system. So we need an operating system that allows us to access a large-scale population. But when equipped with windows 10 or Mac operating software, certain limitations will not make it suitable for the industry. That’s the reason why Linux is preferred as an operating software for running ROS. But again user needs to have a deep knowledge of LINUX to efficiently run the robot operating system and remove any defects that may arise.

Also, Linux is not an operating software, and it is a kernel. It is a very stable, secure open-source to use for large-scale industry, and with its support features, it makes an ideal match for the ROS. Ubuntu is one of the popular Linux operating software compatible with Debian ROS. The regular software updates and ease of using such software make it a very favorable choice among the users. 

3) Building Blocks

  • With robots, you need to be able to write small nodules and be able to test them on how they communicate with each other. ROS enables dividing your core code into packages which in turn consists of smaller programs called nodes. 
  • One of the ways to ensure nodes communicate with each other in a robot operating system is that ROS enables the user to set such parameters so that multiple nodes situated anywhere in the robotic application can get access to those parameters. Other tools to make programs communicate with each other are Topics, Services, and Actions. To use each specific communication tool, the user will have to define specific messages for the same. 
  • As said before, with ros you can stop reinventing the wheel, so for that, you need to set up ROS libraries. When one person develops a package, they can publish and share the same, and it allows other people of the community to use it and improve on it together. So basically, always check if someone has published a code related to your package and if yes, then use the library. 

4) Tools

ROS are used on the prototype first rather than the actual robot. So basically, we need to do some testing on the prototype first. For this, we need to have robotic simulations. The gazebo is a frontrunner when it comes to creating 3D robotic simulations in indoor and outdoor environments. Rviz is a powerful 3D visualization tool used in ros applications that will allow us to view that data from the gazebo when we are doing simulation.

In real-world ROS visualization enables the user to debug a robot application from any kind of unplanned action by visualizing what the robot is seeing or thinking and doing. All this visualization of the actual robot, which has Ruiz application, is displayed on the virtual prototype.


ROS committee is now an active global committee that also organizes world events which allows passionate people from all over the world to participate in the same and become aware of any new developments in the robotic world. If you are learning robotics or researching on the same understanding, ros is the foundation to it.

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