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How HKPC learns ROS for their new division of Self-Driving Cars

HKPC is the Hong Kong Productivity Council, a multi-disciplinary organization that is tasked with promoting and assisting the Hong Kong business sector through the introduction of more efficient and updated business and technological methods. Among them, the Automotive Parts and accessories R&D center is conducting R&D on self-driving cars. Among the skills required for self-driving car engineers, knowing how to program with ROS is an important one. So HKPC decided to use Robot Ignite Academy to train their engineers in ROS.

Objective

  • Learn ROS fast in order to apply to their self-driving cars project.

Challenge

  • They have to learn ROS from zero
  • The wiki tutorials do not provide a step-by-step sequence that allows you to understand a subject. It is kind of scattered parts that you later have to put together. And that is difficult as a beginner.

Interview

We interviewed Yiu Chi Wai – Senior Engineer at their Automotive parts and accessories R&D center. We talked about why they were learning ROS and why they chose to use the Robot Ignite Academy as the way to learn it.

Q: What does your company do?

Yiu Chi: More than a company we are an organization. We provide technical support to Hong Kong companies that want to improve their technology methods.

Q: Why are you learning ROS?

Yiu Chi: We decide to create a new line of research on autonomous cars, and we believe that self-driving cars are going to be ruled by ROS. Since our team did not have knowledge on ROS, we had to start by learning it, so later we can apply it to the cars.

HKPC APAS R&D Center

HKPC APAS R&D Center Presentation

Q: Which ROS methods have you tried?

Yiu Chi: We used the official ROS wiki page provided by ros.org and some videos scattered around.

Q: How were you struggling with those learning methods?

Yiu Chi: The main problem is that the wiki tutorials do not provide a step-by-step sequence that allows you to understand a subject. It is kind of scattered parts that you later have to put together. And that is difficult as a beginner.

Q: Why did you choose to learn with Robot Ignite Academy?

Yiu Chi: Mainly for two reasons: one is the interactivity. Since the Academy provides simulations of the robots, we can see the result of our programs in real time. Another one is that the tutorials are very well done, step-by-step. The tutorials show how to do every step until you get the program running on the simulated robot.

I would also say that we very much liked the amount of tutorials that you have showing how to apply ROS to some application (like drones or autonomous cars).

Q: What are you missing at Robot Ignite Academy?

Yiu Chi: Nothing yet. We started to learn some weeks ago and so far, it has been a nice experience. Actually, it is not only me who is learning with your Academy. We have three other people that started learning ROS in your Academy before myself. And next week, another colleague is going to start learning.

Q: Which ROS subjects are you interested in?

Yiu Chi: At present, we are concentrating on learning the ROS basics. Later, we may be more interested in learning how to apply ROS to autonomous cars.

Q: Which computer type (O.S.) are you using to learn ROS?

Yiu Chi: We use Linux machines for programming, but for the learning, we are using Windows computers. It is nice to run ROS on Windows!

Q: Have you applied what you learned to real robots? Which ones?

Yiu Chi: Not yet. As I mentioned, we are still in the process of building the pieces that we need for the creation of autonomous cars. We already have some cars that we will use in the near future for experimentation, and we will use our ROS skills with them.

Thank you for your time!

And for all of you reading this case study, consider the amount of time you will save if you use the Robot Ignite Academy to train your engineers on ROS-based robotics. We have courses for learning the basics of ROS, but we also have more advanced courses that teach how to apply it to self-driving cars, drones, deep learning with robots, Reinforcement Learning applied to ROS robots, industrial robots, and many more. Just check our current list of courses on this page and give it a try for free.

 

YIUCHI WAI

Senior Engineer Automotive parts and accessories R&D center
HKPC
We really like the interactivity of Robot Ignite Academy, the courses provide robot simulations that allow us to see the result of our programs in real-time. The courses are very well done, every step shows how to practice.

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