Willow Garage Launches The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF)

Open Source Robot Foundation LogoWillow Garage announces the formation of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community whose goal is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development.

The OSRF Board of Directors is composed of the following members:

  • Wolfram Burgard. Dr. Burgard, a professor at the University of Freiburg,  heading the Laboratory for Autonomous Intelligent Systems. His major research interests lie in mobile robotics, state estimation and control, as well as artificial intelligence.
  • Ryan Gariepy, co-founder and CTO of Clearpath Robotics. Clearpath Robotics is a company specializing in the design and manufacture of unmanned vehicle solutions for industrial R&D.
  • Brian Gerkey,  Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage who has worked on the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) since 2008. Dr. Gerkey will be CEO of the OSRF.
  • Helen Greiner, co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks.
  • Sam Park, executive vice president of Yujin Robot, a south Korean company designing and manufacturing robots.

The foundation currently sponsors 2 projects:

  • Robot Operating System (ROS), a project that provides libraries and tools to help software developers create robot applications. It provides hardware abstraction, device drivers, libraries, visualizers, message-passing, package management, and more. ROS is licensed under the BSD license.
  • Gazebo,  a 3D multi-robot simulator with dynamics. It is capable of simulating articulated robot in complex and realistic environments.

If you want to get involved, the foundation recommends to work on the 2 above projects, although you can also be indirectly involved by working on the Arduino platform and the Make database that are both used in open source robotics projects.

The OSRF will participate in the DARPA Robotics Challenge that will start in October 2012 and offers a $2 million prize “to whomever can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today’s capabilities in support of the DoD’s disaster recovery mission.” The DARPA Robotics Challenge is planned to end in December 2014.

You can find more information on the Open Source Robotics Foundation page.

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