7: Wander Bot
Simulating behavior in simulation

NOTE! All the book instructions make reference to "turtlebot_xxx". We will be using "turtlebot3_xxx"


  • We will modify the instructions from the book so follow along here!
  • Code will be part of prrexamples package which we have been using: prrexamples
  • Setup the simulation packages for Turtlebot3 by following 11. Simulation. In particular make sure you add the turtlebot3_simulations package, as follows:
$ cd ~/catkin_ws/src/
$ git clone https://github.com/ROBOTIS-GIT/turtlebot3_simulations.git
$ cd ~/catkin_ws && catkin_make

Red Light/Green Light

  • Pretty trivial, toe in the water
    • Drive forward for a bit
    • Stop.
    • Repeat
  • Look at red_light_green_light.py
  • Run code:
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_gazebo turtlebot3_world.launch
$ ./red_light_green_light.py

Reading sensor data

  • TB3 has a lidar
  • Lidar returns and array of 360 doubles (and some other stuff)
  • 0 degrees is straight ahead
  • Each element has distance to nearest obstacle (in M)
  • Compute bearing (in degrees) of element i as follows:
bearing = ((msg.angle_max - msg.angle_min) / (len (msg.ranges) - 1) * i + msg.angle_min
  • To compute the distance to the obstacle immediately ahead (0 degrees)
    • msg.ranges[0]
  • To compute the nearest obstacle:
    • nearest_obstacle = min(msg.ranges)
  • But of course those won’t be very useful (why?)

  • Experiment by running laser_scan.py program and understanding it
  • Experiment by seeing how the scan data changes based on where the simulated robot is
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_gazebo turtlebot3_world.launch
$ rostopic echo scan

Wander Bot

  • Program will perform a pretty stupid trick
  • It will drive in a straight line for some seconds
  • Then it will spin in place for some more seconds
  • If it is too near an obstacle then it will spin in place
  • It turns out this is a pretty terrible algorithm
  • It gets stuck all the time
  • Take a look at the annotated code: Wander Bot Code

  • rospy.Time.now()
    • returns a time structure with
    • fields secs and nscecs
    • Comparison operator is defined
    • rospy.Duration(x) is an interval, in seconds
  • Now run the program
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_gazebo turtlebot3_stage_3.launch
$ chmod +x  wander.py
$ ./wander.py


  • Logic in a .py program can estabish behaviors
  • All .py programs become nodes (almost)
  • Nodes can publish and subscribe, and do both at the same Time
  • Need to know the exact names of the topics
  • Simulator is used for an idealized context for testing