We’ve been hard at work at 3DR on system architecture and looking into new ways of building adaptable UAV systems.
Solo in particular leverages a number of distributed systems — components that interact with each other over Solo’s computer network; vehicle, controller, and app — that continue to enable industry-leading flight autonomy, like Smart Shots and the modes of Site Scan. This complexity is only increasing, and it’s getting more challenging to handle messaging and data distribution between these systems in a reliable, high-performance way.
After evaluating a number of options, we have selected eProsima Fast RTPS, a messaging middleware developed by eProsima, to power system-level messaging and data distribution on our systems. Fast RTPS is an open-source implementation of the RTPS standard. RTPS (Real Time Publish Subscribe) comprises the transport layer of the DDS standard developed and maintained by the Object Management Group.
We selected eProsima Fast RTPS over other available implementations for a number of reasons. Fast RTPS is feature-complete, providing support for many of the advanced features available in Fast RTPS that we’re excited about. Also, given our history of contributing to and supporting open source projects, the open source nature of Fast RTPS was another compelling factor. Finally, Fast RTPS is more approachable than other options we evaluated, increasing our confidence that we could make any necessary modifications and contribute fixes back upstream.
In connection with 3DR’s adoption of Fast RTPS, eProsima intends to join the Dronecode foundation to encourage further adoption of Fast RTPS. We’re also happy to announce that upcoming licensing modifications will enable Fast RTPS to be distributed on mobile platforms. Although Fast RTPS is currently licensed under the LGPLv3, eProsima plans to provide an alternative license for Fast RTPS, enabling use of Fast RTPS under MPLv2, a license developed by the Mozilla Foundation. MPLv2 retains many attributes of LGPLv3 while allowing users to embed Fast RTPS in mobile applications.
3DR is not alone in the decision to use RTPS for data distribution on complex robotics platforms. The Open Source Robotics Foundation, developers of the ROS and ROS2 operating system, have also decided to use RTPS to power future systems. To further facilitate adoption and use of Fast RTPS, eProsima offers options for commercial support and development to companies seeking to use Fast RTPS in their platforms.
Looking for more information? Fast RTPS is available on Github and on the eProsima web site you can download the latest binaries. Discussions about Fast RTPS (and RTPS generally) have already started in the Dronecode forums.
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eProsima, The Middleware Experts, is a company focused on High Performance networking middleware. eProsima provides insight to develop your distributed systems recommending the right middleware products and supporting you in all the stages of the development.