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Error with ROS Simulator-Gazebo and best practices for URDFs in Gazebo

Hi All,

I have reciently upgraded from Fuerte to Groovy, and I am working on Ubuntu Precise.

I wanted to start simulating my robot in Gazebo using my existing URDF and models. I started by trying out Gazebo with the debian package ros-groovy-simulator-gazebo by running

kel@accuser:~$ rosrun gazebo gazebo

This gives the following behavior, similar to this question posted to

kel@accuser:~$ rosrun gazebo gazebo
Gazebo multi-robot simulator, version 1.3.0
Copyright (C) 2012 Nate Koenig, John Hsu, and contributors.
Released under the Apache 2 License.

Msg Waiting for master.[ INFO] [1363287175.831594707]: waitForService: Service [/gazebo    /set_physics_properties] has not been advertised, 

Which then continues to wait forever, and has to be ctrl-\ to be stopped (or killed).

At first I thought that this could be a problem with my ROS_IP or other network parameters, but I think those are ok, and other ROS nodes can be brought up just fine:

kel@accuser:~$ export |grep ROS


declare -x ROS_DISTRO="groovy"
declare -x ROS_ETC_DIR="/opt/ros/groovy/etc/ros"
declare -x ROS_IP=""
declare -x ROS_MASTER_URI="http://localhost:11311"
declare -x ROS_PACKAGE_PATH="/home/kel/ros_workspace/executive_smach_tutorials:/home/kel    /ros_workspace/adjutant:/home/kel/ros_workspace/merlin_robot:/home/kel/ros_workspace    /ros_controllers:/home/kel/ros_workspace/ros_control:/opt/ros/groovy/share:/opt/ros/groovy/stacks"
declare -x ROS_ROOT="/opt/ros/groovy/share/ros"
declare -x ROS_WORKSPACE="/home/kel/ros_workspace"


kel@accuser:~$ ifconfig


eth0  Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:1a:6b:36:b0:1b  
      inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
      inet6 addr: fe80::21a:6bff:fe36:b01b/64 Scope:Link
      RX packets:1425950 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
      TX packets:477752 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
      collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
      RX bytes:212769407 (212.7 MB)  TX bytes:39867099 (39.8 MB)
      Interrupt:20 Memory:fe200000-fe220000 

lo    Link encap:Local Loopback  
      inet addr:  Mask:
      inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
      UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
      RX packets:111011 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
      TX packets:111011 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
      collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
      RX bytes:15710426 (15.7 MB)  TX bytes:15710426 (15.7 MB)

After reading a few other questions such as this one, it seems apparent that the ROS simulator-gazebo stuff is deprecated. However, I have it on good authority that the ros simulator-gazebo tools (specifically the spawn_model command to use URDF's) should still work as of Groovy.

I am not sure if the error I am having with simulator-gazebo is related to a separate problem, or this supposed deprecation. I also have installed Gazebo 1.5. What is the best way for me to use my existing URDFs and models?

Thanks for the help, and let me know if you need more information about anything.

Cheers, Kel Guerin

Johns Hopkins University