I am a developer of robotics and automation and perception software. Are you all aware of Willow Garage’s ROS software? If not, you will notice a huge overlap between ROS and EPICS. Both are publish subscribe architectures, and both
support a very wide variety of hardware drivers which allows new users to get up and running on new hardware quickly without having to learn all the particulars of each individual piece. As a ROS developer, I have been looking through the long list of hardware
drivers you all have amassed. Many of these could easily be converted to ROS, as I’m sure some of our drivers could be easily ported to EPICS. The nuances of talking to hardware consumes a great deal of my time as I try to integrate new sensors with advanced
perception and machine intelligence algorithms.
Obama recently announced a competition for 3 new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. I would like to suggest that we propose as one piece of these initiatives that ROS and EPICs be merged, or bridged and supported under one of these
institutes. This would provide a one stop shop for systems developers like me who build networks of a myriad of devices and analysis packages. All I’m suggesting is that your organization:
Look at what is being proposed for the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
Look at ROS and compare what it does with what EPICS does
Consider opportunities for synergy between these two efforts
Think about how a FUNDED national institute could promote and provide much needed support to expand capabilities making both more useful to the country and their respective development communities.
Let me know if you want to investigate this opportunity to see about being part of a bid for one of these institutes.
Robotics and Automation Engineering Section
Southwest Research Institute
San Antonio TX