Renesas Electronics Corporation has teamed up with eProsima, a company specializing in middleware solutions, to port micro-ROS into the RA microcontrollers (MCUs), to enable easier development of professional robotics applications for internet of things (IoT) and industrial systems. The companies announced that the Renesas EK-RA6M5 evaluation kit for RA MCUs is the official supported hardware platform of the micro-ROS development framework.
The micro-ROS framework, as the industry’s robotics operating system for MCUs, allows a standardized integration of MCUs into the robot operating system (ROS) 2 data space. It provides an established application development framework based on standard communication middleware to the embedded world. Porting micro-ROS into the Renesas RA MCUs facilitates the adoption of this robotic framework in industry 4.0 and industrial IoT applications. The Renesas e2 studio integrated development environment, which will run on Windows, as well as Linux-based computers, will support the micro-ROS implementation, simplifying the process of using the micro-ROS client library.
The Renesas advanced (RA) family of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M MCUs deliver optimized performance, security, connectivity and peripheral IP to address next generation embedded solutions. Renesas has built a comprehensive partner ecosystem to deliver an array of software and hardware building blocks that work out of the box with RA MCUs, including both Microsoft Azure RTOS and FreeRTOS. This combination makes the RA family a good reference platform for micro-ROS implementations.
eProsima is the main developer of the micro-ROS framework. The company’s CEO, Jaime Martin Losa, said, “Achieving cost-effective development depends on a common platform around which hardware and software providers emerge. micro-ROS represents the tool that bridges the gap between microcontrollers and ROS 2, expanding the scope of new robotic applications based on embedded devices.”
The objective of this hardware and software combo project is to provide a comprehensive tool that covers the full cycle of software development in embedded systems targeting a wide range of applications: these include service robots for logistics and warehousing, defense and security, agriculture, and healthcare.
Renesas has also developed a ROS-based robot body controller as one of its “winning combinations” that showcases the RA6M5’s implementation of micro-ROS, complemented by other Renesas components. Its winning combinations consist of complementary analog, power, timing devices and embedded processing, and provide an easy-to-use architecture, simplifying the design process and significantly reducing design risk for customers in a wide variety of applications. This is part of over 250 winning combinations Renesas said it provides, with compatible devices that work together seamlessly.
The micro-ROS hardware support is divided into officially supported boards and community supported boards. Support for micro-ROS in the RA MCUs is available in Renesas’ EK-RA6M5 evaluation kit, now the officially supported micro-ROS hardware platform.
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