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Wintel Simulator Analysis Essay

A robotics simulator is used to create application for a physical robot without depending on the actual machine, thus saving cost and time. In some case, these applications can be transferred onto the physical robot (or rebuilt) without modifications.

The term robotics simulator can refer to several different robotics simulation applications. For example, in mobile robotics applications, behavior-based robotics simulators allow users to create simple worlds of rigid objects and light sources and to program robots to interact with these worlds. Behavior-based simulation allows for actions that are more biological in nature when compared to simulators that are more binary, or computational. In addition, behavior-based simulators may "learn" from mistakes and are capable of demonstrating the anthropomorphic quality of tenacity.

One of the most popular applications for robotics simulators is for 3D modeling and rendering of a robot and its environment. This type of robotics software has a simulator that is a virtual robot, which is capable of emulating the motion of an actual robot in a real work envelope. Some robotics simulators use a physics engine for more realistic motion generation of the robot. The use of a robotics simulator for development of a robotics control program is highly recommended regardless of whether an actual robot is available or not. The simulator allows for robotics programs to be conveniently written and debugged off-line with the final version of the program tested on an actual robot. This primarily holds for industrial robotic applications only, since the success of off-line programming depends on how similar the real environment of the robot is to the simulated environment.

Sensor-based robot actions are much more difficult to simulate and/or to program off-line, since the robot motion depends on the instantaneous sensor readings in the real world.

Features[edit]

Modern simulators tend to provide the following features:

  • Fast robot prototyping
  • Physics engines for realistic movements. Most simulators use ODE (Gazebo, LpzRobots, Marilou, Webots) or PhysX (Microsoft Robotics Studio, 4DV-Sim).
  • Realistic 3d rendering. Standard 3d modeling tools or third party tools can be used to build the environments.
  • Dynamic robot bodies with scripting. C, C++, Perl, Python, Java, URBI, MATLAB languages used by Webots, Python used by Gazebo.

Simulators[edit]

Among the newest technologies available today for programming are those which use a virtual simulation. Simulations with the use of virtual models of the working environment and the robots themselves can offer advantages to both the company and programmer. By using a simulation, costs are reduced, and robots can be programmed off-line which eliminates any down-time for an assembly line. Robot actions and assembly parts can be visualised in a 3-dimensional virtual environment months before prototypes are even produced. Writing code for a simulation is also easier than writing code for a physical robot. While the move toward virtual simulations for programming robots is a step forward in user interface design, many such applications are only in their infancy.

General information[edit]

SoftwareDevelopersDevelopment statusLicense3D rendering enginePhysics engine3D modellerPlatforms supported
ActinEnergid TechnologiesActiveProprietaryOpenGLProprietaryProprietaryWindows, macOS, Linux, VxWorks, and RTOS-32. (RTX and QNX Planned)
ARSRALInactiveBSDVTKODENoneLinux, macOS, Windows
GazeboOpen Source Robotics Foundation(OSRF)[1]ActiveApache 2.0OGREODE/Bullet/Simbody/DARTInternalLinux, macOS, Windows
MORSEAcademic community[2]ActiveBSDBlender game engineBulletBlenderLinux, BSD*, macOS
OpenHRPAISTActiveEclipseJava3DODE/InternalInternal[3]Linux, Windows
RoboDKRoboDKActiveProprietaryOpenGLnoneInternalLinux, macOS, Windows, Android
SimSparkO. Obst et al. (+26)ActiveGNU GPL (v2)InternalODENoneLinux, macOS, Windows
V-RepCoppelia RoboticsActiveProprietary/GNU GPLInternalODE/Bullet/Vortex/NewtonInternalLinux, macOS, Windows
WebotsCyberbotics Ltd.[4]ActiveProprietaryProprietaryProprietary

(based on ODE)

ProprietaryLinux, macOS, Windows
4DV-Sim4D VirtualizActiveProprietaryOGREPhysXInternalLinux
OpenRAVEOpenRAVE CommunityActiveGNU LGPLCoin3D/OpenSceneGraphODE/BulletInternalLinux, macOS, Windows
SoftwareDevelopersDevelopment statusLicense3D rendering enginePhysics engine3D modellerPlatforms supported

Technical information[edit]

SoftwareMain programming languageFormats supportExtensibilityExternal APIsRobotics middleware supportPrimary user interfaceHeadless simulation
ActinC++SLDPRT, SLDASM, STEP, OBJ, STL, 3DS, Collada, VRML, URDF, XML, ECD, ECP, ECW, ECX, ECZ,Plugins (C++), APIUnknownUnknownGUIYes (ActinRT)
ARSPythonUnknownPythonUnknownNoneUnknownUnknown
GazeboC++SDF[5]/URDF[6],OBJ, STL,ColladaPlugins (C++)C++ROS, Player, Sockets (protobuf messages)GUIYes
MORSEPythonUnknownPythonPython[7]Sockets, YARP, ROS, Pocolibs, MOOSCommand-lineYes[8]
OpenHRPC++VRMLPlugins (C++), APIC/C++, Python, JavaOpenRTM-aistGUIUnknown
RoboDKPythonSTEP, IGES, STL, WRMLPlugins (C++), APIC/C++, Python, MatlabSocketGUIUnknown
SimSparkC++, RubyRuby Scene GraphsMods (C++)Network (sexpr)Sockets (sexpr)GUI, SocketsUnknown
V-RepLUAOBJ, STL, DXF, 3DS, Collada,[9] URDF[6][10]API, Add-ons, PluginsC/C++, Python, Java, Urbi, Matlab/OctaveSockets, ROSGUIYes[11]
WebotsC++WBT, VRML, X3DAPI, PROTOs, Plugins (C/C++)C, C++, Python, Java, Matlab, ROSSockets, ROS, NaoQIGUIYes[12]
4DV-SimC++3DS, OBJ, MeshPlugins (C++), APIFMI/FMU, MatlabROS, Sockets, Plug & Play interfaces[13]GUIYes
OpenRAVEC++, PythonXML, VRML, OBJ, ColladaPlugins (C++), APIC/C++, Python, MatlabSockets, ROS, YARPGUI, SocketsYes
SoftwareMain programming languageFormats supportExtensibilityExternal APIsRobotic middleware supportPrimary user interfaceHeadless simulation

Infrastructure[edit]

Support[edit]

Code Quality[edit]

SoftwareStatic Code CheckerStyle CheckerTest System(s)Test Function coverageTest Branch coverageLines of CodeLines of CommentsContinuous Integration
ActinUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownJenkins
ARSUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
Gazebocppcheckcpplintgtest and qtest46.1%34.3%190.7k60.45kJenkins
MORSEN/ApylintPython unittestsUnknownUnknown31.4k[53]9.0kJenkins, Travis
OpenHRPUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
RoboDKUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
SimSparkUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
V-RepUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
WebotsUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
4DV-SimUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
OpenRAVEUnknownUnknownPython noseUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownJenkins [54]
SoftwareStatic Code CheckerStyle CheckerTest System(s)Test Function coverageTest Branch coverageLines of CodeLines of CommentsContinuous Integration

Features[edit]

SoftwareCAD to MotionDynamic Collision AvoidanceRelative End EffectorsOff-Line ProgrammingReal-Time Streaming Control
ActinYes (Tool Paths)YesYesYesYes
ARSUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
GazeboUnknownYesYesYesYes
MORSEUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
OpenHRPUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
RoboDKUnknownNoUnknownYesNo
SimSparkUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
V-RepUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
WebotsUnknownYesYesYesYes
4DV-SimUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
OpenRAVEUnknownNoUnknownNoNo
SoftwareCAD to MotionDynamic Collision AvoidanceRelative End EffectorsOff-line ProgrammingReal-time Streaming Control

Families of robots[edit]

SoftwareUGV (ground mobile robot)UAV (aerial robots)AUV (underwater robots)Robotic armsRobotic hands (grasping simulation)Humanoid robotsHuman avatars
ActinYes (Can Include Manipulators)Yes (Can Include Manipulators)Yes (Can Include Manipulators)YesYesYesYes
ARSUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
GazeboYesYesYes[55]YesYesYesYes
MORSEYesYesPartial[56]Some[57]NoNoYes
OpenHRPYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
RoboDKNoNoNoYes[58]NoNoNo
SimSparkYesNoNoMaybeMaybeYesNo
V-RepYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
WebotsYesYesYes[59]YesYesYes[60]Yes
4DV-SimYesYesNoYesMaybeNoYes
OpenRAVEYesUnknownUnknownYesYesYesYes
SoftwareUGV (ground mobile robot)UAV (aerial robots)AUV (underwater robots)Robotic armsRobotic hands (grasping simulation)Humanoid robotsHuman avatars

Supported actuators[edit]

SoftwareGeneric kinematic chainsForce-controlled motionFull listCircular kinematic chainsKinematically redundant chainsBifurcated kinematic chains
ActinYesYesMotion ConstraintsYesYesYes
ARSUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
GazeboYesYesYesYesYes
MORSEYes[61]YesMORSE actuatorsUnknownUnknownUnknown
OpenHRPYesYesUnknownUnknownUnknown
RoboDKUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
SimSparkYesNoSimSpark effectorsUnknownUnknownUnknown
V-RepYesYesUnknownUnknownUnknown
WebotsYesYesYesYesYes
4DV-SimYesYesUnknownUnknownUnknown
OpenRAVEYesYesJoints,Extra ActuatorsYes[62]YesYes[63]
SoftwareGeneric kinematic chainsForce-controlled motionFull listCircular kinematic chainsKinematically redundant chainsBifurcated kinematic chains

Supported sensors[edit]

SoftwareOdometryIMUCollisionGPSMonocular camerasStereo camerasDepth camerasOmnidirectional cameras2D laser scanners3D laser scannersFull list
ActinYesYesYesUnknownYesYesYesYesYesYes
ARSUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
GazeboYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
MORSEYesYesYesYesYesUnknownYesUnknownYes

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