Renesas and eProsima Port micro-ROS to Microcontrollers to Simplify Robotics Development

The EK-RA6M5 evaluation kit is now the officially supported micro-ROS development board to facilitate robot adoption.

Business Wire

The micro-ROS framework for RA MCUs is intended to simplify robot design.

Renesas Electronics Corp. yesterday announced that it has worked with eProsima to port the micro-ROS development framework into its Renesas Advanced microcontroller units, or RA MCUs. The Renesas EK-RA6M5 Evaluation Kit for RA MCUs is the official supported reference platform for micro-ROS, they said. The goal is to ease development of professional robotics applications, said the companies.

“Robotics is becoming increasingly important as Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT gain steam,” said Roger Wendelken, senior vice president in the IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas. “The performance and feature set of the RA family make it the best choice for robotic applications, and we’re pleased to work with eProsima to deliver solutions to our diverse customer base.”

Renesas is a supplier of advanced semiconductor systems, including microcontrollers, analog, power, and system-on-a-chip (SoC) products. The Tokyo-based company said it supports a broad range of automotive, industrial, infrastructure, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

eProsima specializes in middleware for the robotics, IoT, and automotive sectors. The Madrid-based firm supports implementations for larger robotic systems such as ROS 2 and Micro XRCE-DDS, the default middleware for micro-ROS.

Porting ROS to microcontrollers

The micro-ROS framework allows a standardized integration of MCUs into the Robot Operating System (ROS) 2 data space. It provides an established application development framework based on standard communication middleware to the embedded world, said eProsima and Renesas.

The Renesas Advanced family of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M MCUs can deliver optimized performance, security, connectivity and peripheral IP to address the next generation of embedded systems, claimed Renesas. The company said it has built a partner ecosystem to deliver software and hardware building blocks that work out of the box with RA MCUs, including both Microsoft Azure RTOS and FreeRTOS.

Porting micro-ROS into the Renesas RA MCUs will facilitate the adoption of this robotic framework in Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications, the companies said.

The Renesas e2 studio integrated development environment (IDE), which will run on Windows and Linux-based computers, will support the micro-ROS implementation and simplify the process of using the micro-ROS client library, said Renesas.

Renesas touts applications and availability

“Achieving cost-effective development depends on a common platform around which hardware and software providers emerge,” said Jaime Martin Losa, CEO of eProsima. “micro-ROS represents the tool that bridges the gap between microcontrollers and ROS 2, expanding the scope of new robotic applications based on embedded devices.”

Renesas said it has developed a ROS-based Robot Body Controller “winning combination” that showcases the RA6M5’s implementation of micro-ROS, complemented by other Renesas components. Such combinations consist of complementary analog, power, timing devices, and embedded processing. They can provide an easy-to-use architecture, simplifying the design process and significantly reducing design risk for customers in a wide variety of applications, said the company.

Renesas said it offers more than 250 combinations with compatible devices that work together seamlessly.

The micro-ROS hardware support is divided into officially supported boards and community supported boards. Support for micro-ROS in the RA MCUs is available in Renesas’ EK-RA6M5 evaluation kit, now the officially supported micro-ROS hardware platform.

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Business Wire

The micro-ROS framework for RA MCUs is intended to simplify robot design.

Robot Technologies