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Moving a ROS robot in Gazebo, are plugins necessary or can I use topic/node method instead?

Hi all, I'm really newbye in Gazebo and I tried in last days to read everything I could find to use Gazebo for my simulated robot.

So far so good..I've a small robot which moves really good under RViz and now I'm interested to simulate it in Gazebo. Since the ROS Node is going to simulate the robot's dynamic I want at first move it under Gazebo. Something similar I 've found in this question. But I'm still a little bit confused about Plugins in Gazebo. For my understanding one could move the robot just publishing from ROS information about velocity and position on the following two topics:

/gazebo/set_link_state
/gazebo/set_model_state


So...now...why should I need a plugin? What's the purpose for?

Is the way (publishing on these topics) right? Or one should create a plugin of the robot to get simulated in Gazebo?