Robotics researchers, educators, and engineers have a new platform to build on. Clearpath Robotics Inc. and Open Robotics yesterday launched TurtleBot 4, the latest generation of the popular open-source mobile robot platform. The organizations said TurtleBot 4 is a “low-cost, fully expandable” system with improved perception, increased payload capacity, support for ROS 2, and auto-docking capabilities.
“This year marks 10 years since we started working with the Open Robotics’ founding team on the TurtleBot 2,” said Bryan Webb, president of Clearpath Robotics. “We are very excited to continue our support for the open-source community by providing cutting-edge technology for robotics research, development, and education.”
“Turtlebot 4 offers automatic charging, the latest sensors and computing, as well as larger and heavier payload support,” he added. “Furthermore, Clearpath Robotics is committed to offering a world-class user experience at an affordable price point.”
Clearpath Robotics provides mobile robots for research and development, as well as hardware, software, and services for self-driving vehicle development, deployment, and operation. The Kitchener, Ontario-based company works with over 500 brands in over 40 countries, serving industries including materials handling, mining, military, agriculture, aerospace, and academia.
Clearpath has been recognized with the Edison Award for Innovation, Business Insider Top 40 under 40, and Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
TurtleBot 4 comes in two versions
TurtleBot 4 is available in two models: TurtleBot 4 Standard and TurtleBot 4 Lite. Both versions are built on the iRobot Create 3 educational robot, whose built-in technologies including an inertial measurement unit (IMU), optical floor-tracking sensor, and wheel encoders.
They also include infrared sensors for accurate localization, navigation, and telepresence. The mobile base is fully integrated with a 2D lidar and a front-facing spatial AI stereo camera. Clearpath said this makes it ideal for SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and AI-based testing.
With the Standard model, users can easily customize and expand the capabilities of the robot by adding sensors and accessories via the accessible powered USB hub, power breakouts, and the top mounting plate. The platform's IP address is also displayed, allowing users to quickly connect to the robot through Wi-Fi.
Both models include a charging dock, allowing for autonomous docking and battery charging.
TurtleBot includes ROS 2 for ease of use
Clearpath and Open Robotics noted that TurtleBot 4 is the first one designed for the Robot Operating System (ROS). TurtleBot 4 is equipped with a powerful Raspberry Pi 4 computer running the ROS 2 open-source software for robotics development.
All onboard sensor data are available as ROS topics via the network-connected ROS 2 application programming interface (API). A programmable OLED screen allows users to quickly display information from any of the ROS topics.
TurtleBot 4 is shipped fully assembled with ROS 2 pre-installed and configured along with detailed user documentation, a Gazebo simulation model, and demo code. This enables users to get started right out of the box, said Clearpath.
TurtleBot 4 also comes with comprehensive courseware material, including lesson plans, lecture content, tutorials, and sample tests, allowing educators to easily integrate TurtleBot into robotics training courses.
“We're excited to be launching the first TurtleBot designed for ROS 2 from the ground up,” said Tully Foote, co-creator of the TurtleBot and community and business development manager at Open Robotics. “I’m humbled by the success of the TurtleBot to date and looking forward to seeing how TurtleBot 4 takes the robotics community forward.”
“More than 16,000 TurtleBots are already out in the world, and Clearpath is the perfect partner to deliver the next 16,000 and more,” he said.
Open Robotics said its mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open-source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. It works with a global community to offer the Gazebo simulator and ROS.
Open Robotics is available for contract R&D, consulting, and custom application development for the global robotics community.
TurtleBot 4 Pricing and Availability
TurtleBot 4 Standard and Lite are available in North America, Europe, and Asia through authorized global distributors starting at $1,850 and $1,195 (U.S.), respectively.
Clearpath Robotics said it will begin shipping TurtleBot 4 in July.
In addition, the company will show TurtleBot 4 in its booth at the International Conference for Robotics & Automation (ICRA) later this month in Philadelphia.