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The State of Robotics – February & March 2022

When you use open source software, you establish a connection with its maintainers, contributors, and users. You join a community, leveraging code and knowledge. You share bugs, solutions, recommendations, and challenges. Open source accelerates innovation while uniting us all under the same cause.

Today, millions of open source contributors are being affected, fighting for their survival. Members of your community, my community. And while a blog can’t stop the ongoing war, it can honour those who are suffering. It can also show you how close we are to them, in our work, in our field, and in our passion. It shows who we want to help, who we care about, because today, we all share the same pain.  

This blog is for them. 

Special thanks to Andriy Petlovanyy who helped me with this blog and to all the people from ROS Ukraine!   

Security for robotics

US Federal Trade Commission issues stern warning 

The FTC issued a warning to companies that they may face potential regulatory action if they fail to address known Log4j vulnerabilities.

The FTC Alert points to federal laws, such as the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to indicate the responsibility companies have to “take reasonable steps to mitigate known software vulnerabilities.”

In the $700 million Equifax settlement, the FTC’s complaint alleged that the failure to patch a known software vulnerability led to 147 million individuals having their personal information exposed.

Recent cyberattacks target open-source web servers 

As organisations reeled from the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228), cyberattacks aiming at open-source web servers, like Apache HTTP Server, were rapidly rising.

CVE-2021-41773 and CVE-2021-42013, two critical vulnerabilities, are perfect examples of how attackers exploit the vulnerabilities in the Apache HTTP Server. As Trend Micro reported, these two are path traversal vulnerabilities that allow attackers to map URLs to files/directories outside of the webroot.

To protect enterprises against malicious activities, timely patches are not enough. Using software composition analysis (SCA) to discover issues in each layer of the software supply chain has become a must.

Robotics in Ukraine

We can’t feature them all, and I do apologize for those who were not mentioned, but I will promise you this: if you send us an email to robotics.community@canonical.com, I will add them, and keep updating this blog for as long as needed. 

These are some of the organisations, robotics companies, and communities in Ukraine that have contributed to open source robotics in different ways.

ROS Ukraine User Group

Група для любителів і професіоналів роботехніки.  

This is a group for those looking to learn more about robotics. This active community hosts almost 500 developers in its facebook group providing big support for those new to ROS. 

Besides organising events and meetups, this community shares resources among its members such as books, online classes, and other training material. Many of its members work in leading robotics companies and take the opportunity to generate company engagement events with the group. This leads to a greater exposure for its members to real ROS applications. They also celebrate their anniversary with a conference (almost 5 years old group).

As a whole, the team is supporting the wider robotics community in Ukraine, and their progress is reflected in ROS progress as well. 

Companies 

SoftServe

SoftServe today is a big international company, but it started in 1993 in Lviv, Ukraine. Their robotics team works with mobile platforms, arms, drones, and are starting working with legged robots. The company engages frequently with the ROS Ukrainian User Group. 

They have developed Booter. A mobile catering robot that uses ROS to navigate and presents snacks to visitors in meetups and conferences. 

Link to booter’s video

Lyubomyr Demkiv is a Robotics Expert at SoftServe, leading the technical direction of the Robotics group. Lyubomyr and his team have published the ROS repository on legged robot teleoperation and delivered pioneering projects using ROS2. They are all advocates for ROS and help organise events that popularise ROS in Ukraine. 

SoftServe also heavily cooperates with universities in Ukraine. It is involved in the educational process, analysing educational programs, helping to conduct practical training of students, involving its experts in classes, and training at universities.

Robotec

With the mission of saving lifes, Robotec develops solutions to support or replace human involvement from hazardous operations. This includes a remote-controlled explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robot, designed to provide enhanced bomb disposal capabilities to EOD teams.They have also developed an UV light controlled robot for the disinfection of public infrastructure. 

Most importantly, they contribute to open source projects. Robotec provides new software, electronics, and design models through the GitHub portal. This helps all community members.

Robo house 

Robo house is a school for teaching robotics and programming for children and adults. It develops and provides its own educational kits, to provide training programs for future engineers in Ukraine.

Some of their open source robots are:

The company also has labs in Kharkiv, Odessa, Kyiv, and Dnipro. They also bring robotics to kids using a Robo Bus! These are moving labs with computers and equipment to reach a wider audience as you can see in the image below.  

Deus Robots 

Based in Kiev, and established in 2018, Deus Robots is a robotics company dedicated to the development and production of autonomous mobile robots. 

Some of its members can be seen on the ROS Ukraine group. Through their involvement, they support this community by bringing their company and business experience to a new roboticist.

Some mentions 

  • Robot Ally is a robot that performs autonomous logistics of fruits and berries from the fields. 
  • Skyeton develops and supplies unmanned aerial systems.

Robotics groups and events

Congress, hackathons, meetup groups, and more, much more. These are events for young developers, students, and professionals — for anyone who is interested in different aspects of robotics to join and learn. From competitions to master class, you could easily find free events for anyone willing to learn. These are some examples Kharkiv AI Club, Robotica and SiverTechFest

Ukrainian Universities 

From Kyiv Polytechnic Institute to Donetsk National Technical University or from Lviv Polytechnic National University to Kharkiv National University, universities in Ukraine have strong links with robotics companies nationally and internationally. This not only accelerates the field of robotics R&D in research centres but also is a vital push to keep impulsing robotics markets.

Universities form the future of robotics. We are united in the code they share, in the knowledge they create, and in the educational ethos they pursue. 

Educational organisations for children 

Ukraine is packed with educational groups for children. Here children can go from learning basic STEM skills to developing and programming robots! You can easily find plenty of them on social media. Today, some of them are working as refugee coordinators centres, shelters or engaged in humanitarian efforts.

Here are some of the many groups we could mention; RoboCode, Konotop Robotics Club, RobotSchool, and stART.

Robot Makers | Chapter 1 – Roboat, more than a self-driving boat

We are happy to announce our webinar series Robot Makers! This series explores with the innovators, the journey, the challenges, and the enablers for robotics innovation. It provides an insight into each phase of a robotics business, from R&D spin out to a consolidated company. 

Our first guests were Joshua Jordan, Roboat Software Lead, and Ynse Deinema, Roboat Project Coordinator. Roboat is a battery-powered and fully autonomous boat that has been navigating through Amsterdam’s canals. Roboat aims to help cities find new ways to utilise their waterways, specifically urban transport. 

So, if you want to learn about robotics innovations, the people behind them, and their stories, check the first webinar on-demand now. Let’s get a deeper understanding of what the journey looks like for those who dare to create.

Open source robotics – whitepapers

No more self scripts, no more network pain to pass data through. Why is Docker not more simple? Why can my application simply work when I turn on the robot? All the answers are here, in our Docker and ROS whitepaper. This is for all the developers who want to make their work easier. 

 ROS & Docker whitepaper.

Open source robotics – video news

Another month, another video. More news, more applications, more robots!  

Here it is. 

And if you want to feature your robotics application, just send us an email at robotics.community@canonical.com.

Open-source robotics – tutorial

In a special blog, let’s do something special. This tutorial involves hardware, to be more specific, how to build an omni-wheel balancing robot bike. Yep, we couldn’t not share this video. 

This is a really informative video (and fun as well) plus a great source of inspiration!

Stay tuned for more robotics news

As always, we would love to learn from you. Send us a summary of your robotics innovation and project to robotics.community@canonical.com, and we will share it in our next robotics newsletter or monthly video. Thanks for reading!

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