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Technique for spawning and deleting large number of models quickly

asked 2020-10-11 22:13:56 -0500

wongrufus gravatar image

updated 2020-10-11 22:32:16 -0500

We are trying to run some tests in simulation. The procedures are roughly as follows

  1. Spawn a large number of models (currently simple spheres) at random positions
  2. Run some tests
  3. Delete the spawned models so we return to the initial state
  4. Repeat

Currently, I am using the ros services /gazebo/spawn_sdf_model and /gazebo/delete_model to spawn and delete models respectively.

The problem is, spawning a single model takes 200ms, deleting a single model takes 400ms. Since I need to do this many times, this takes an extremely long time.

Am I doing something wrong that it takes so long to spawn a simple sphere? Is are there better ways to spawn and delete large number of models, e.g. bulk spawn, or reload the environment?

I am currently running on a system without a GPU but with a fairly powerful CPU and CPU usage isn't maxed out. Would using a GPU help?

The sdf file is as simple as it gets

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<sdf version="1.5">
  <model name="tiny sphere">
    <link name="link">
      <pose>0 0 0 0 0 0</pose>

      <collision name="collision">

      <visual name="visual">

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answered 2020-10-12 05:42:20 -0500

nlamprian gravatar image

A model is spawned by sending a message to ~/factory, and deleted by sending a request to entity_delete. The services you mention build on top of those. They do some preprocessing, handle the request, and then wait for the model to (dis)appear.

You can write a world plugin to manage your models as a whole. I.e. provide an interface that processes the models altogether and waits for them in the end. You will get some speedup, but it's still going to take a non-trivial amount of time to complete.

See gazebo_ros_api_plugin for reference.

Alternatively, assuming the models are always the same, you could spawn them once, and then only randomize their poses in each iteration. This can happen instantaneously.

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It seems gazebo gui gets messed up when rapidly calling /gazebo/set_model_state for many objects

wongrufus gravatar imagewongrufus ( 2020-10-13 05:09:47 -0500 )edit

Create a world plugin to which you can send all model names and poses. Then the plugin can reposition all models in one simulation step in its update callback.

nlamprian gravatar imagenlamprian ( 2020-10-13 05:18:50 -0500 )edit
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Asked: 2020-10-11 22:13:56 -0500

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Last updated: Oct 12 '20