Robot Operating System (ROS)

ROS is the de facto standard for advanced robotic systems today.

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The Robot Operating System is an open source software development kit for building advanced robotics applications. The world has seen a dramatic shift to ROS over the past few years, and ROS is now powering a majority of robots globally. PickNik is a major advocate, developer, and thought leader in the ROS community, and provides ROS Consulting and Support to our clients.

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“Nearly 55% of total commercial robots shipped in 2024 will have at least one ROS package installed, creating a large installed base of ROS-enabled robots.” 1

Is ROS for me?


Save time
and money

Avoid reinventing the wheel by building on top of royalty free open source libraries


Shorten time
to market

Prototype quickly with ROS for your MVP on through to your deployable product


Leverage a vibrant

Share common knowledge and training with scientists, engineers, developers, and students worldwide


Avoid vendor
lock in

Use ROS drivers and abstractions that remove your dependence on any one hardware or software provider


Build on
open standards

Trust the same software used by NASA, being taught in renowned graduate robotics programs like MIT, and utilized by many robotics companies


Achieve multi-platform

Deploy the same code on Linux, Windows, and macOS to allow seamless integration of your complex system

Many companies have successfully shipped products with ROS

In 2017 tractor giant John Deere spent $305 million to acquire a lettuce-farming robot startup Blue River. Their robotic platform was built on ROS and according to Willy Pell, Blue River’s Sr. Systems Engineer:

“ROS has been a fantastic tool for us. I love how you can gut one node and not have it affect the rest of the system. I love how you can break the system apart and test subcomponents. Being able to confidently refactor, test and debug large parts of the system allows us to evolve extremely quickly.”

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Some other companies using ROS today

Amazon logo Bosh logo Ubuntu logo Intel logo LG Electronics logo Microsoft logo ROBOTIS logo Clearpath Robotics logo Fetch Robotics Samsung logo Toyota Research Institute logo

ROS is used in outer
space by NASA

In 2014 the Robonaut 2, running ROS software, arrived aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Robonaut was developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center and in addition to ROS, uses OROCOS and MoveIt.

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ROS is used in MoveIt Pro

MoveIt Pro uses the ROS ecosystem internally to reduce code duplication and maintain interoperability to many types of robotic arms, actuators, and sensors. Both MoveIt and ROS were originally developed for Willow Garage's PR2 robot platform (pictured above). MoveIt is the third most popular ROS package and a vital part of the ROS ecosystem.

Some other companies using ROS today:

ROS 2 is the exciting next generation of the Robot Operating System designed and developed from the ground up to address the needs of industry. ROS 2 promises increased production-ready robustness by addressing various shortcomings of ROS 1, including security, realtime speed, and hardened software. Moreover, communication speed and interoperability have been improved in ROS 2 by switching to the industry standard DDS for low-level communication.

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ROS 2 has allowed us to fix the things that needed big structural change, while keeping all the good things. All of those things people clamored for in ROS 1, things like Windows support, RTOS support, life-cycle management, security, etc., well, they’ve all landed in ROS 2

Brian Gerkey, Open Robotics

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ROS 2 momentum is accelerating upwards and at a significant rate, especially in the last year since the ROS 2 Dashing release.

Camilo Buscaron, Amazon Web Services Robomaker

ROS 2's first alpha release was in 2016, and has been officially out of beta since 2017. Since then 6 major releases of the ROS 2 platform have been made, which now includes Long Term Support (LTS).

The final version of ROS 1.0 was released May 2020 with the Noetic Ninjemys distribution. All future development and support will be with ROS 2.0, so we at PickNik recommend that all new projects build on ROS 2.

ROS Consulting and Support

PickNik Robotics has provided ROS consulting and ROS support for over 100 companies to date.

Contact us for ros consulting

PickNik provides engineering services and support for commercial ROS applications such as robotic agriculture, surgery, warehouse logistics, aerospace, manufacturing, food preparation, construction, and home assistants. PickNik's core capabilities include ROS-based manipulation, control, perception, and navigation.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) is the main company behind the ROS middleware and infrastructure, and they have been working hard to bring ROS 2 to the world. PickNik is a partner with OSRF, working closely in the open source ecosystem to improve the ROS community and software. The Rise of ROS: Nearly 55% of total commercial robots shipped in 2024 Will have at Least One Robot Operating System package installed