Software highlights from the second PR2 Beta Program Conference Call

PR2 Beta RecipientsWe sent 11 PR2s out the door last May as part of our PR2 Beta Program.  Now that they've been in the hands of the researchers around the world for 6 months, the PR2s have started showing off a lot of new tricks.  We heard about their progress last week during the second PR2 Beta Conference Call. The call was a chance for all the Beta Program recipients to show off what they've accomplished since the first call.  Below is a partial list of software that's been released in their public code repositories over the past few months, or you can find more details in the slides and audio from the call.


The shared_autonomy stack is collection of tools for combining human control and automated algorithms including

  • augmented_object_detector provides fast and effective object detection, based on a combination of human input and machine vision
  • safe_teleop_base adds collision avoidance for easier joystick control of the robot
  • augmented_grasp_planner automatically identifies potential grasps and lets a person select the best one for the situation

Georgia Tech

  • clutter_segmentation separates the world into "surface" and "clutter" regions, as well as providing a dataset of cluttered scenes from real environments.
  • overhead_grasping simple way to quickly pick up basic objects from above.

KU Leuven


  • sbpl_lattice_planner does more advanced planning for the PR2 base motion, including planning for rotations.
  • roshask is the start of a new client library for the Haskell language.


  • USC has been working on improved calibration of sensors and studying how robots should position themselves for interaction with people.


  • octomap2 builds efficient 3d models from point-cloud data
  • The articulation stack builds models of hinges and mechanisms from sensor data, including a great set of tutorials.
  • NARF is a set of keypoint detectors and descriptors that have been integrated into pcl.


  • The object_survey package allows a PR2 to automatically gather 3d models of objects such as chairs by driving around and taking data from all angles.


  • Several integrated demos, including recyclerbot
  • pr2_stanford_wbc adapts the Stanford whole-body-control framework for use on the PR2, which provides a powerful way of specifying tasks for the robot.

UC Berkeley


  • Lots of updates to euslisp, including support for OSX, 30+ new robot models, and 100+ new object models.
  • Lots of updates to openRAVE, including official PR2 support and demos, and updated ikfast kinematics engine.
  • elevator_move_base_pr2 helps PR2 navigate multi-story buildings using elevators.
  • cr_capture and opt_camera drivers for depth and 360 degree cameras.
  • Collada integration with euslisp in euscollada, URDF in collada_urdf, and OpenRAVE, as well as robot-specific COLLADA extensions.


As you can see, the PR2 Beta Sites have producing an incredible amount of new code, and moved a great deal of their research forward since they took delivery in May. If the past few months are any indication, we are looking forward to exciting new developments and contributions from the PR2 Beta Sites in 2011 and beyond.