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47838robot mapping and navigation

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  • Bruce J Weimer MD
    Jul 2, 2013
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      I have a Kinect sensor and a laptop on a small differential drive robot - similar to a turtlebot, but homebrew with better motors and Phidgets to interface the laptop to the encoders and motor drivers.
      My plan was to use Linux and ROS for mapping and navigation. It turns out that this isn't so easy....
      I've spent over a year and I've had a lot of help - I can now run the robot around using a joystick while building a map, then I can indicate a start position and a goal position on the map, the robot then successfully plans, plots and displays a path from the start to the goal... then it heads off in the wrong direction.
      I suspect that I'll eventually be able to get this to work - but about then ROS will upgrade something... and in the past when that's happened stuff stops working until you reload everything and figure out what (poorly documented) changes you have to make to get it all working again like changing pathnames. Very frustrating.
      More importantly I'd like to bring this to the Leaf Project community - an on-line free open source home robotics project. And, quite frankly, I don't think that most home hobbyists are going to be able to get ROS to work - so far the only 2 in our group that I know of are both PhD's.
      So my question for this group is does anyone know of and have you had personal experience with a better solution. Basically I want the robot to be able to localize using the Kinect (I'm in the middle of the living room) then plot a course to a destination (I think I'll go to the kitchen) then go there while avoiding any obstacles in it's way (replanning if it encounters something like a closed door). Other than ROS, is there available software out there that does this?
      I don't care if the platform is Linux or Windows - in fact I'd prefer Windows since the AI software is running on Windows and that would make that interface that much easier.
      BTW, rereading this it may sound like I'm bashing ROS - and I'm not.... but I think it may be on a different level than the average hobbyist... more like something for a team of university graduate students...
      Anyway thanks for your help - this group has always been helpful and informative!
      Dr. Bruce.
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