What is ROS ?
ROS is an open-source, meta-operating system for your robot. It provides the services you would expect from an operating system, including hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly-used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management. It also provides tools and libraries for obtaining, building, writing, and running code across multiple computers.
The primary goal of ROS is to support code reuse in robotics research and development.
Contrary to its name, ROS is not an operating system; it is a flexible and collaborative opensource framework for developing a robot software.
Initially developed by the Stanford AI Laboratory in 2007 for developing robots, ROS provides a collection of tools, libraries, and conventions, with the aim to simplify the task of creating complex and robust robot functionalities across a wide variety of robotic platforms.
ROS acts as a robotic middleware that runs on different operating systems, such as Linux and Windows, which serves as a common software platform for developers to build a robot. ROS provides services such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly used functionalities, message-passing between processes, package management. It also provides tools and libraries for obtaining, building, writing, and running code across multiple computers. Language independent, the ROS framework is easy to implement in any modern programming language and is already implemented it in Python, C++, and LISP.
There are experimental libraries in Java and Lua. For easy testing, ROS has a built-in unit/integration test framework called rostest that makes it easy to bring up and tear down test fixtures. ROS is designed around complex mobile manipulation platforms, with actuated sensing (tilting lasers, pan/tilt sensor heads, sensors attached to arms). ROS makes it easier to take advantage of a distributed computing environment.
A recent ABI Research report stated that 55% of robots developed in 2024 will include a ROS Package