The Origin Story of ROS, the Linux of Robotics


Ten years ago, while struggling to bring the vision of the “Linux of Robotics” to reality, I was inspired by the origin stories of other transformative endeavors. In this post I want to share some untold parts of the early story of the Robot Operating System, or ROS, to hopefully inspire those of you currently pursuing your “crazy” ideas.

A glaring need

This origin story starts when Eric Berger, my partner of seven years on this project, and I were starting our PhDs at Stanford.

The impetus for ROS came accidentally when we were searching around for a compelling robotics project to tackle for our PhDs. We talked to countless folks and found the same pattern repeated over and over by those setting out to innovate on robotics software: They spent 90 percent of their time re-writing code others had written before and building a prototype test-bed. Then the last 10 percent of their efforts, at most, were spent on innovation.

Read more at IEEE Spectrum