Open Source Robotics Foundation
The history of open source is replete with significant moments in time, and today Willow Garage would like to humbly submit our own milestone -- the announcement of the Open Source Robotics Foundation. As Willow Garage has worked to grow and shepherd ROS within the robotics world our hope was that ROS would one day stand on its own. With the announcement today of the OSR Foundation, that day is finally here.
The mission of the OSR Foundation is "to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development." You will find this mission on the new OSR Foundation Web site, but not much else. In the coming weeks, we will be expanding on our goals, our short- and long-term plans, and the individuals and organizations that will be leading the OSR Foundation. For now, contact OSRF for more information or to get involved.
The first initiative of the OSRF will be participation in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, announced recently. The DARPA Robotics Challenge, or DRC, will launch in October 2012 and offers a $2 million prize "to whomever can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today’s capabilities in support of the DoD’s disaster recovery mission." The full announcement of the initiative specifically mentions the Fukushima nuclear accident as a recent example of a potential robotic application although other recent disasters such Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill at Deepwater Horizon also quickly come to mind.
DARPA today sponsored a Proposer's Day Workshop where more information about the Robotics Challenge is available via Webcast. During the Webcast, Nate Koenig from Willow Garage gave a brief talk on the current and future state of the open source Gazebo robot simulator, which will be extended by the OSR Foundation to support the DARPA Robot Challenge.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge supports the National Robotics Initiative announced by the Obama Administration in June 2011.