6. ROS Navigation

6.1. Learning Objectives

In this ROS example, We will

  • Demonstrate Omniverse Isaac Sim integrated with the ROS Navigation stack.

  • Use the Occupancy Map Generator.

6.2. Getting Started


  • The ROS Navigation stack is required to run this sample. Install the ROS Navigation stack:

sudo apt-get install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-navigation
  • This tutorial requires carter_2dnav package and carter_description package provided as part of your Omniverse Isaac Sim download. Both packages are located under the directory ros_workspace/src/navigation/. They contain the required launch file, navigation parameters, and robot model. Complete ROS & ROS2 Installation, make sure ROS environment is setup correctly and those packages are inside your ROS_PACKAGE_PATH.

  • Roscore is running before running Omniverse Isaac Sim.

6.3. The ROS Navigation Setup

This block diagram shows the ROS messages required for the ROS Navigation stack.

ROS Navigation Overview Block Diagram

As described above, the following topics and message types being published to the ROS Navigation stack in this scenario are:

ROS Topic

ROS Message Type









6.3.1. Omniverse Isaac Sim TF broadcasting in more detail:

ROS_DifferentialBase subscribes to the /cmd_vel topic and is responsible for controlling the movement of the robot. It also publishes the transform between the odom frame and base_link frame.

ROS_Carter_Broadcaster is responsible for publishing the static transform between the base_link frame and chassis_link frame. Keep in mind that since the target prim is set as Carter_ROS, the entire transform tree of the Carter robot (with chassis_link as root) will be published alongside the base_link frame.

ROS_Carter_Lidar_Broadcaster is responsible for publishing the static transform between the chassis_link frame and carter_lidar frame.

Finally, to ensure all ROS nodes reference simulation time, a ROS_Clock prim has been added which publishes the simulation time to the /clock ROS topic.

6.3.2. Generate Occupancy Map

In this scenario we will use an occupancy map. To generate a map there are 2 options:

  1. Using the Occupancy Map Generator extension within Omniverse Isaac Sim (Recommended)

  2. Using the slam_gmapping ROS package Using the slam_gmapping ROS package:

  1. Install the slam_gmapping ROS package, run the command below:

sudo apt-get install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-slam-gmapping
  1. Install the teleop_twist_keyboard ROS package:

sudo apt-get install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-teleop-twist-keyboard
  1. Go to Isaac Examples -> ROS -> Navigation to load the warehouse scenario. Press Play to begin simulation.

  2. Follow the tutorial: http://wiki.ros.org/slam_gmapping/Tutorials/MappingFromLoggedData


Since a rosbag is not available, substitute the rosbag command in the tutorial with the following command: rosrun teleop_twist_keyboard teleop_twist_keyboard.py. This will start the teleop_twist_keyboard ROS node and enable you to use your keyboard to manually drive the robot around the warehouse to simultaneously generate a map.

  1. Press Stop to terminate the simulation.

6.4. Running ROS Navigation

  1. Go to Isaac Examples -> ROS -> Navigation to load the warehouse scenario.

  2. Click on Play to begin simulation.

  3. In a new terminal, run the ROS launch file to begin ROS Navigation.

roslaunch carter_2dnav carter_navigation.launch

Rviz will open and begin loading the urdf model of the robot, the global occupancy map, as well as the local costmap which will be overlaid on top.

  1. To verify that all of the transforms are broadcasting, run the following command in a new terminal to visualize the ROS TF frame tree:

rosrun rqt_tf_tree rqt_tf_tree

The generated graph should look similar to the one shown below.

ROS TF frame tree

Since the position of the robot is defined in carter_navigation.launch, the robot should already be properly localized.

5. Click on the 2D Nav Goal button and then click and drag at the desired location point in the map. The ROS Navigation stack will now generate a trajectory and the robot will start moving towards its destination!

6.5. Troubleshooting

If you are noticing performance related issues with the ROS Navigation stack or errors such as:

Could not transform the global plan to the frame of the control
  • Consider increasing the transform_tolerance parameter for the local and global occupancy maps found in local_costmap_params.yaml and global_costmap_params.yaml.

6.6. Summary

In this tutorial, we covered

  1. Occupancy map

  2. Running Isaac Sim with ROS navigation stack.

6.6.1. Next Steps

Go to the next tutorial Multiple Robot ROS Navigation to move multiple navigating robots.

6.6.2. Further Learning