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Unexpected Dynamics for Vehicles

asked 2014-12-15 17:40:44 -0600

nbanyk gravatar image

updated 2014-12-18 20:00:41 -0600

I am using Hydro on Gazebo 1.9. I have made a utility vehicle model that is based off of the DRC Vehicle (using the DRC Vehicle/Vehicle ROS plugins). I am currently trying to match the dynamics of the model as closely as possible to the actual, real vehicle that I have. I get the Gazebo vehicle to move by applying a command rotational velocity to the back wheels through gazebomsgs::LinkState /gazebo/setlink_state. The thing that is strange to me is that whether I give a small or large command velocity, it always takes approximately 2 seconds for the settling time to reach the command velocity. This means that if I give a small command velocity, the acceleration is small and if I give a large command velocity, the acceleration is large. I would think that the vehicle would take more time to reach a higher command velocity - is there any way I can make this more realistic? I've tried different types of vehicles and this behavior is consistent. I've also thought about giving command velocity as steps but since it always take 2 seconds to get to the command velocity, I wouldn't be able to get to a desired total time of like 3 seconds, only multiples of 2.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide!

EDIT: my drive node

int main(int argc, char **argv)
  ros::init(argc, argv, "toro_gazebo_drive_pub");

  ros::NodeHandle n;
  ros::Publisher publ = n.advertise<gazebo_msgs::LinkState>("/gazebo/set_link_state", 1000);
  ros::Publisher publ2 = n.advertise<gazebo_msgs::LinkState>("/gazebo/set_link_state", 1000);
  ros::Rate loop_rate(20);

  gazebo_msgs::LinkState msg; //gazebo_msgs::ApplyJointEffortTEST
  gazebo_msgs::LinkState msg2; //for second back wheel
  double mpers = 0.5; // m/s of vehicle

  msg.link_name = "drc_vehicle_xp900::toro::rear_left_wheel"; //  husky::back_left_wheel
  msg.pose.position.x = 0.0; // don't edit position.x though angular.x
  msg.pose.position.y = 0.0;
  msg.pose.position.z = 0.0;
  msg.pose.orientation.x = 0.0;
  msg.pose.orientation.y = 0.0;
  msg.pose.orientation.z = 0.0;
  msg.pose.orientation.w = 1.0;
  msg.twist.linear.x = 0.0;
  msg.twist.linear.y = 0.0;
  msg.twist.linear.z = 0.0;
  msg.twist.angular.x = 0.0;
  msg.twist.angular.y = 2.3875*mpers*10; // can modify this to move (+ = forward, - = backward), 2.3875 is for .1m/s
  msg.twist.angular.z = 0.0;
  msg.reference_frame = "drc_vehicle_xp900::toro::rear_left_wheel"; //  husky::back_left_wheel

  msg2.link_name = "drc_vehicle_xp900::toro::rear_right_wheel"; //  husky::back_right_wheel
  msg2.pose.position.x = 0.0; // don't edit position.x though angular.x
  msg2.pose.position.y = 0.0;
  msg2.pose.position.z = 0.0;
  msg2.pose.orientation.x = 0.0;
  msg2.pose.orientation.y = 0.0;
  msg2.pose.orientation.z = 0.0;
  msg2.pose.orientation.w = 1.0;
  msg2.twist.linear.x = 0.0;
  msg2.twist.linear.y = 0.0;
  msg2.twist.linear.z = 0.0;
  msg2.twist.angular.x = 0.0;
  msg2.twist.angular.y = 2.3875*mpers*10; // can modify this to move ...
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Is there any rhyme or reason as to how questions get answered in this forum? Like for my question, did I 1) write a confusing question? 2) ask a question that no one knows the answer to? 3) ask a dumb question? 4) just not wait long enough for a response?

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 15:35:54 -0600 )edit

The reason I ask this is because I've tried a number of different ways and spent a lot of time trying to adjust my model/world and if I can't get this to work then I need to drop the Gazebo side of my project.

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 15:39:19 -0600 )edit

are you setting joint velocity or applying effort at joint to achieve a velocity?

hsu gravatar imagehsu ( 2014-12-18 19:40:34 -0600 )edit

I'm setting a link velocity through the topic, gazebomsgs::LinkState, to the two rear wheel links. I was trying to use gazeboros in a way that only used topic/msgs without any services/srvs. I've edited my post so that I show the node that I use to drive the vehicle.

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 19:56:48 -0600 )edit

setting joint [link] velocity bypasses dynamics, so resulting behavior will not obey newton's second law. To make use of physics and dynamics properly, I recommend creating a PID controller to set joint effort commands and use joint velocity as feedback. One approach I might take is by writing a model plugin ( to do this.

hsu gravatar imagehsu ( 2014-12-18 20:04:14 -0600 )edit

Ohhh, ok, I didn't know that that bypasses dynamics. For the model plugin method, do you have an example of giving a joint effort w/ or w/o PID control? I know that tutorial link applies a linear velocity and not an effort.

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 20:09:09 -0600 )edit

Well, set velocity with ODE uses a linear motor, and the effect is that the solver finds a *sufficient force* to achieve velocity requested, so not exactly real-world like.

hsu gravatar imagehsu ( 2014-12-18 20:34:38 -0600 )edit

Ok, so I think I'm a bit confused. Should I be setting velocity using 'this->model->SetLinearVel' to get to my command velocity in a plugin, or is there a different set command for setting effort that I should use instead? Is there some reference/wiki where I can learn about the code to use for plugins (I found the bitbucket page for gazebo plugin examples but those don't have a lot of motion other than model_push)? And then, how can I get ROS to communicate with the Gazebo plugin to give...

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 21:17:54 -0600 )edit

...a command velocity or effort? I know that there is the 'Using Gazebo plugins with ROS' wiki page but that only deals with sensor plugins and skid steer/differential drive. (I am using SDF for my model and not URDF).

nbanyk gravatar imagenbanyk ( 2014-12-18 21:20:58 -0600 )edit

To guarantee that an effort is applied on every simulation step, ModelPlugin approach is preferred. Use Joint::SetForce call ( to apply joint efforts. I don't have a simple example handy at the moment, maybe someone else watching this thread does? Another alternative is to to use roscontrol (

hsu gravatar imagehsu ( 2014-12-18 22:20:26 -0600 )edit

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answered 2015-02-04 18:52:45 -0600

nbanyk gravatar image

Follow the comments to see the progression that Hsu helped me get through to the solution.

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Asked: 2014-12-15 17:40:44 -0600

Seen: 997 times

Last updated: Feb 04 '15