A ROS-Based Open Tool for Intelligent Robotics Education

José M. Cañas, Eduardo Perdices, Lía García-Pérez, Jesús Fernández-Conde
2020 Applied Sciences  
This paper presents an open-access platform for practical learning of intelligent robotics in engineering degrees: Robotics-Academy. It comprises a collection of exercises including recent service robot applications in real life, with different robots such as autonomous cars, drones or vacuum cleaners. It uses Robot Operating System (ROS) middleware, the de facto standard in robot programming, the 3D Gazebo simulator and the Python programming language. For each exercise, a software template
more » ... been developed, performing all the auxiliary tasks such as the graphical interface, connection to the sensors and actuators, timing of the code, etc. This also hosts the student's code. Using this template, the student just focuses on the robot intelligence (for instance, perception and control algorithms) without wasting time on auxiliary details which have little educational value. The templates are coded as ROS nodes or as Jupyter Notebooks ready to use in the web browser. Reference solutions for illustrative purposes and automatic assessment tools for gamification have also been developed. An introductory course to intelligent robotics has been elaborated and its contents are available and ready to use at Robotics-Academy, including reactive behaviors, path planning, local/global navigation, and self-localization algorithms. Robotics-Academy provides a valuable complement to master classes in blended learning, massive online open courses (MOOCs) and online video courses, devoted to addressing theoretical content. This open educational tool connects that theory with practical robot applications and is suitable to be used in distance education. Robotics-Academy has been successfully used in several subjects on undergraduate and master's degree engineering courses, in addition to a pre-university pilot course.
doi:10.3390/app10217419 fatcat:wr6qgm4c4ndazdp7ou5zmuwk6m