Open-Source Software

This work was performed at Willow Garage.


I led the development of MoveIt! at Willow Garage and SRI. MoveIt! was targeted at allowing users to build advanced applications integrating motion planning, kinematics, collision checking with grasping, manipulation, navigation, perception, and control. MoveIt! was easy to use and configure for new robots. It included advanced perception capabilities for building 3D environment representations. MoveIt! was intended as a tool to provide out of the box capabilities for applications like pick and place, workspace analysis or safe teleoperation. MoveIt! became the standard for open-source manipulation software.

Arm Navigation

I initiated and led the Arm Navigation project to build advanced capabilities and tools for enabling manipulation with any arm. Arm Navigation was an incredible success, having been used for everything from the PR2 to the Robonaut and a variety of industrial manipulators by a large number of research groups around the world. Combined with the Grasping Pipeline components in ROS, Arm Navigation enabled a range of advanced capabilities and applications for both fixed and mobile manipulators.

  • "Perception, Planning, and Execution for Mobile Manipulation in Unstructured Environments", Chitta, Sachin., Jones, Edward Gil., Ciocarlie, Matei., and Hsiao, Kaijen, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Special Issue on Mobile Manipulation, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2012 [PDF]

  • Arm Navigation Website


I contributed extensively to the navigation capabilities in ROS. My collaboration with Max Likhachev's group at CMU led to the development of SBPL - a general-purpose library for search-based planning that has been used extensively for navigation for mobile robots. My work with Armin Hornung (University of Freiburg) and Michael Phillips (CMU) while they were interns at Willow Garage led to the development of the 3D Navigation capabilities in ROS, extending the ROS navigation stack to allow full-body navigation in unstructured environments. I was also involved in the development of the original ROS navigation stack.


I was a core member of the team that developed the PR2. I helped develop a lot of the core software stacks for the PR2 including the controllers for the base, arms and gripper, motion planning stacks with Arm Navigation, the Grasping Pipeline and MoveIt! and several applications including tabletop manipulation, door opening, mobile pick and place, learning from demonstration for fine manipulation tasks, furniture building and manipulation with dynamics.


I was involved with ROS since its beginning and was involved in developing the core Robotics stacks. This ranges from the URDF file format for defining robots, Kalman filters, global and local navigation planners, motion planners for manipulation, kinematics modules, dynamics modules, controllers and integrated applications like pick and place and workspace analysis. MoveIt! was intended to form the basis for all mobile manipulation capabilities in ROS.


I initiated the ROS Control project to develop a new robot independent realtime safe controller library, controller manager and control interfaces for ROS. The addition of a standard set of interfaces for control has been a longtime demand in ROS while the availability of a reliable open-source library for control should open up new applications. The ROS control project and the associated libraries have already picked up several users and contributors, including in Gazebo and by PAL Robotics.