Alphabet's Intrinsic acquires the DARPA-backed company behind open source bots

Alphabet’s Intrinsic acquires the DARPA-backed company behind open source bots

Just a few months after buying a fellow robotic software company my deputyalphabet owned substantial It gained many divisions within Open Botsthe company behind the widely used robotics software packages Gazebo and Robotic Operating System (ROS).

Specifically, Intrinsic is buying Open Source Robotics Corporation (OSRC), the for-profit arm of Open Robotics, Open Source Robotics Corporation Singapore (OSRC-SG), part of the business that led efforts on a project called Open-RMF for Interoperability Interfacing between bot fleets and physical infrastructure (such as doors and elevators). Open Robotics’ nonprofit arm, the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), will not be affected by the deal outside of several new executive hires, according to Open Robotics founder and former CEO Brian Gerkey.

in blog post In announcing the acquisition, Gerkey assures that there will be no disruption to day-to-day activities regarding OSRF’s stewardship of botnet ROS middleware, Gazebo 3D botnet simulation and Open-RMF. OSRF will continue to be responsible for open source intellectual property, project governance, and development of the ROS, Gazebo, and Open-RMF communities after the deal closes. It will also continue to manage Github organizations, run project websites, put together the annual ROSCon conference, and support TurtleBot, a suite of low-cost robots made by Open Robotics in partnership with Clearpath Robotics and ROBOTIS.

“Together we will give the robotics community great new features in ROS, Gazebo and Open-RMF, while also building new products and services at the forefront… You can expect ROS 2 Iron Irwini to be available in May 2023 on schedule,” said Gerkey, who will join Intrinsic As part of the OSRC team after the acquisition but continues to serve on the OSRF Board of Directors. “We will continue to improve ROS, Gazebo, and Open-RMF so that they can be used in more areas, with ever-increasing demands on software quality, testing, and platform support.”


Screenshot of the Gazebo, which can be used to simulate a range of different robots, including autonomous cars, in various scenarios.

Headquartered in Mountain View, OSRF — the predecessor to Open Robotics — was founded in 2012 with the goal of supporting “the development, distribution, and certification of open-source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development.” Its beginning can be traced back to Willow Garage, a robotics research lab and incubator created by Scott Hasan, an early Google engineer turned tech billionaire. Willow Garage has gradually dissolved into a number of spin-offs, including OSRF.

OSRC was launched in September 2016 and became known with OSRF as Open Robotics. In 2018, Open Robotics OSRC-SG opened and announced its collaboration with the Government of Singapore to work on robotics applications for the healthcare sector.

Open Robotics funds its operations through contributions from many public and private entities including DARPA, NASA, Amazon, Bosch, Nvidia, and the Toyota Research Institute. DARPA has awarded its first contract to OSRF to support open source simulation software for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and OSRF has in turn provided resources to support the NASA Space Robotics Challenge and the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.

Al Jawhar got its start recently. Sprouted from Alphabet’s XR&D lab led by Wendy Tan White, former Vice President of Moonshots at Alphabet, the company primarily focuses on developing control software for industrial robots. As my colleague Brian Hatter has noted, Intrinsic has remained mostly silent since its launch, choosing instead to focus on building some technology pilots with manufacturers. But Tan White recently revealed an interview With TechCrunch, Intrinsic plans to release a software layer next year that will be able to interface with automotive assembly, electronics manufacturing, and logistics robots, allowing users to build applications and test them in a simulator before deploying them to real-world hardware.

“Our mission is to democratize access to robotics. We believe the long-term support of the global ROS community developers is key to that mission,” Intrinsic said in a statement about the Open Robotics acquisition today. Submitted to the robot report. “Our team is eager to welcome and work with our new colleagues, expand our use and integration of ROS tools, and build the core platform. As we work together to support and serve developers, we see tremendous value in creating a software platform that expands access to intelligent bots in a compliant, useful, and open way, while creating endless opportunities.” her where she had not been before.”

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