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The State of Robotics – November 2019

Rhys Davies

on 6 December 2019

This article is more than 4 years old.

November, for robotics, was a good month. We’re seeing new things develop, current projects finish and more cute animals in our future. So who can complain? The news we’re covering here are things that have crossed our path and that we’ve found interesting. If you have suggestions for next months post or your own projects you would like us to highlight, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send an email and a brief summary to and we can start the discussion. As ever we want this to be a highlight reel for cool robot stuff because we like cool robot stuff. Happy December everyone.

Create your first robot with snaps and Ubuntu Core

Kyle Fazzari from the Ubuntu Robotics team recently wrapped up a series of blog/video tutorials to get you started with ROS on Ubuntu Core. The 5-part series makes use of an inexpensive robot and the CamJam EduKit #3, so that anyone can do it! You can find more info and all video links here, on ROS Discourse. (Psst. Christmas is around the corner if you know what I mean 😉 ).

ROS 2 Eloquent Elusor is officially released!

Read the announcement in all its glory. As always, you can order a t-shirt, hoodie, or (new this year) a pair of socks with the release logo. As the old saying goes, keep your Elusor eloquent, and your feet warm.

Researchers target LiDAR to spoof obstacles

It’s nice to have a reminder every once in a while, that security in robotics isn’t just about keeping intruders out of your robot’s systems, but also about making sure your sensor data is valid. Researchers from the University of Michigan have published an interesting paper and a video where they target an autonomous car’s LiDAR system.

ROS 2 Crystal Clemmys reaches end-of-life

The Crystal release of ROS 2 reaches end-of-life this month (December). If you’re still using it, it’s time to upgrade at least to Dashing (the LTS release, supported for the standard support period of Ubuntu Bionic, until May 2021). And while we are talking about release end-of-life, have you seen the ROS Clock? There is still time though, the clock measures time in days so it might seem soon, but who knows what will happen between then and now…

DSM source code is out!

Direct Sparse Mapping, or DSM, is a novel direct approach to monocular SLAM. Unlike the many other direct sparse algorithms that were released in years past, DSM detects and handles map point re-observations to ensure consistent global maps and odometry correction. The paper detailing DSM is available on Arxiv, and its source code on GitHub.

ROS 2 F Name Revealed

The next ROS 2 release has an official name “Foxy Fitzroy”! After a long, open suggestion period on Discourse, where you can see heaps of possibles, the name was settled. Look forward to the cute logos next year! 🦊🐢

ROS Discourse Glamour Shots

In October (I know I know, this is about November, but I only just found it) Katherine Scott created a new topic on the ROS discourse titled “Semi-regular Glamour Shots Thread”. The topic came out of a discussion about wanting a place to share videos, images and just generally interesting visuals of robotics projects that folks in the community are working on. If this manages to get some traction, then it might become a regular feature in this very series. Head over and take a look at what people shared in October.


The last event of the year for the Ubuntu robotics team is ROS-Industrial. An event dedicated to discussing the benefits of shared, open-source frameworks for industrial robotics. Fraunhofer IPA will host the event, held in Stuttgart, Germany, with attendees from all over the world discussing all types of things, from agriculture to autonomous driving and from security to DDS. Speakers from all around the industrial space will be recorded for your viewing pleasure. If you’re reading this pre-December 12th, have a look on twitter for the hashtag #RCIEU for the blow by blow news, or if you’re reading this post-December 12th you can search for another blog discussing the event and our observations in their entirety.

The Ubuntu Robotics team on the ROS Developers Podcast

The ROS Developers Podcast is a podcast which primarily targets an audience of ROS developers and enthusiasts. It is home to many great interviews, and is a valuable source of information where you can find a variety of discussions from ROS experts. Ricardo Tellez, CEO of The Construct, who hosts the show kindly invited a couple of our team for an interview between coffees at ROSCon 2019.

Grab a coffee, a cookie and head to the Construct website to listen to the interview.


It was November. Robotics was done in November. And that’s good. But now November is again just the month before December. So naturally, the Ubuntu robotics team have been thinking about how our next blog, given the holidays, will work. At the moment we’re thinking a kind of Christmas special. With less technical aspects and more flashy robotics projects from all over the internet. We would discuss how they were done, if or how they could be done with ROS and if or how they could be done with Ubuntu. Anyhow. Send us projects and ideas for next month that you want us to talk about or consider and we can discuss more personally. Send to

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