In recent years, open-source has been critical in driving the growth of the software industry, particularly in the area of cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The report looks at the current developments and trends in open-source projects in the robotics industry. As compared to the software industry, the maturity of open-source projects in the robotics industry is uneven. Most of the more mature projects center around either unmanned aerial vehicles or robots for research and education purposes. Robot Operating System (ROS), a successful open-source robotics middleware project, is set to change this. The industry has seen an increasing number of robots deployed using ROS in commercial and industrial settings. A forecast of the shipments of ROS-enabled commercial robots is also featured in the report.
At the same time, the report also looks at best practices and recommendations for robotics developers and end users on open-source robotics projects. With the emergence of more open-source projects, robotics developers and end users will need to look at projects that have clear product roadmap, strong governance and active contributions from the community to leverage all the advantages of an open-source project. Given sufficient time, an open-source project, like ROS, may even become an industry standard.