ROS Bridge Overview and Workflow

Both ROS and Isaac make use of message passing to handle communication between different parts of their respective systems. Communicating between ROS and Isaac requires creating a message translation layer between the two systems. The simplest method for doing so involves turning an Isaac codelet into a full fledged ROS node. The majority of ROS functionality is not required by Isaac, thus the included packages only offer support for the messages commonly installed with a default ROS install. In order to make use of custom ROS messages it is necessary to generate a custom package and point the bazel build system to such a package.

The third-party libraries required for the ROS Bridge are only supported on desktop and Jetson Xavier.

Install ROS

In order to use the ROS bridge you have to install ROS on your device. For example if you want to use the ROS bridge on Jetson you have to install ROS on Jetson. If you want to use ROS on the desktop you have to install ROS on the desktop.

The ROS version you install has to match the operating system of your device. For your desktop system or Jetson Xavier (both running Ubuntu 18.04) you must install ROS Melodic Morenia.

To install ROS follow the instructions from the ROS webpage.

Making a ROS Bridge Codelet

The following files demonstrate how to create a simple ROS-Isaac bridge codelet. The code initializes or makes use of a ROS node during start, then on tick the ROS message queues are pumped and the messages on both sides are translated and rebroadcast. The following ROS packages are included by default in the shipped ROS package

roscpp rospy actionlib_msgs control_msgs diagnostic_msgs geometry_msgs
map_msgs nav_msgs pcl_msgs sensor_msgs shape_msgs std_msgs stereo_msgs
tf2_geometry_msgs tf2_msgs trajectory_msgs visualization_msgs

Testing the ROS Bridge

In order to test a ROS Bridge codelet, it is necessary to create a ROS test node. The following code is a simple node used to test the NavigationRosBridge discussed previously.

#include <ros/ros.h>
// Include the appropriate message headers for your test case
#include <geometry_msgs/Pose2D.h>

// Sending random points for navigation testing
#include <random>

// A simple call back to acknowledge receiving a message
void navigationCallback(const geometry_msgs::Pose2D::ConstPtr& msg) {
    ROS_INFO("Heard: Isaac is at X:%f, Y:%f, Theta: %f", msg->x, msg->y, msg->theta);

constexpr double pi = 3.14159265358979323846;

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    // Select a random point to send as a goal pose
    std::random_device rd;
    std::mt19937_64 eng(rd());
    std::uniform_real_distribution<> dist_x(10, 30);
    std::uniform_real_distribution<> dist_y(10, 30);
    std::uniform_real_distribution<> dist_theta(-pi, pi);

    ros::init(argc, argv, "rosBridgeTest");

    ros::NodeHandle rosBridgeTestNode;

    // Channel to publish navigation requests to.
    // Replace with desired message and channel name for your test case
    ros::Publisher nav_pub = rosBridgeTestNode.advertise<geometry_msgs::Pose2D>("isaac_navigation2D_request", 1000);

    // Listen for pose/navigation updates.
    // Replace with desired message and channel name for your test case
    ros::Subscriber nav_sub = rosBridgeTestNode.subscribe("isaac_navigation2D_status", 1000, navigationCallback);

    // Send a message and check updates every ten seconds
    ros::Rate loop_rate(10);

    while (ros::ok()) {
        // Generate a random goal location
        geometry_msgs::Pose2D pose_msg;
        pose_msg.x = dist_x(eng);
        pose_msg.y = dist_y(eng);
        pose_msg.theta = dist_theta(eng);

        ROS_INFO("Sent: Move Isaac to  X:%f, Y:%f, Theta: %f", pose_msg.x, pose_msg.y, pose_msg.theta);

        // Manually spin to check messages

    return 0;

Using a Custom ROS Package

To use a custom ROS package, you must first generate a custom workspace which contains the required packages. Refer to engine/build/scripts/ for guidelines on how to create a custom package with the proper path structure. Once such a package exists, modify engine/build/workspace/ros.bzl to point to the new workspace.

Begin by commenting out the platform specific default package, which should be similar to the following:

    name = "isaac_ros_bridge_x86_64",
    build_file = clean_dep("//third_party:ros.BUILD"),
    sha256 = "b2a6c2373fe2f02f3896586fec0c11eea83dff432e65787f4fbc0ef82100070a",
    url = "",

Replace the platform-specific package with the following to point to the new workspace with the custom packages:

    path='path to the workspace',
    build_file = clean_dep("//third_party:ros.BUILD"),

The name and build_file fields in the new section must match those of the section being replaced.