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Feature Ideas

The following are feature ideas in no specific order. This list contains features that we think are important and can make for good contributions to ROS 2. Please get in touch with us before digging to a new feature. We can offer guidance, and connect you with other developers.

Design / Concept

  • IDL format

    • Leverage new features like grouping constants into enums

    • Extend usage to .idl files with just constants and/or declare parameters with ranges

    • Revisit constraints of IDL interface naming, see ros2/design#220

  • Create migration plan for ROS 1 -> ROS 2 transition

  • Uniqueness of node names, see ros2/design#187

  • Specific “API” of a node in terms of topics / services / etc. in a descriptive format, see ros2/design#266

  • Configuring QoS at runtime, see ros2/design#280

Infrastructure and tools

  • Building

    • Consolidate build.ros2.org and ci.ros2.org

    • Provision macOS

    • Windows and Mac OS packages

    • Support profiles in colcon

  • Documentation

    • Improve documentation platform

    • Support for doc jobs on the ROS 2 buildfarm

    • Consider consolidating with design.ros2.org

    • Provide three different kinds of content:

      • “demos” to show features and cover them with tests

      • “examples” to show a simple/minimalistic usage which might have multiple ways to do something

      • “tutorials” which contain more comments and anchors for the wiki (teaching one recommended way)

New features

The trailing stars indicate the rough effort: 1 star for small, 2 stars for medium, 3 stars for large.

  • Logging improvements [* / **]

    • Configuration specified in a file

    • Per-logger configuration (enabling e.g. rqt_logger_level)

  • Time related

    • Support rate and sleep based on clock

  • Parameters

    • enforce type

  • Additional Graph API features [** / ***]

    • Introspect QoS setting for all (especially remote) topics

    • a la ROS 1 Master API: https://wiki.ros.org/ROS/Master_API

    • Event-based notification

    • Requires knowledge of the rmw interface which needs to be extended

  • Executor

    • Performance improvements (mostly around the waitset)

    • Deterministic ordering (fair scheduling)

    • Work with callback groups

    • Decouple waitables

  • Message generation

    • Catch-up message generation for languages not supported out-of-the-box

    • Mangle field names in message to avoid language specific keywords

    • Improve generator performance by running them in the same Python interpreter

  • Launch

    • Support use case of using xacro to perform substitutions before passing the result containing parameters

    • Use pytest for launch testing

    • Support for launching multi-node executables (i.e. manual composition)

    • Extend launch XML/YAML support: events and event handlers, tag namespaces and aliasing

  • Rosbag

    • Support recording services (and actions)

  • ros1_bridge

    • Support bridging actions

  • RMW configuration

    • Unified standard way of configuring the middleware

  • Remapping [** / ***]

    • Dynamic remapping and aliasing through a Service interface

  • Type masquerading [***]

  • Expand on real-time safety [***]

    • For services, clients, and parameters

    • Expose more quality of service parameters related to real-time performance

    • Real-time-safe intra-process messaging

  • Multi-robot supporting features and demos [***]

    • Undesired that all nodes across all robots share the same domain (and discover each other)

    • Design how to “partition” the system

  • Implement C client library rclc [**]

  • Support more DDS / RTPS implementations:

  • security improvements:

    • more granularity in security configuration (allow authentication only, authentication and encryption, etc.) [*]

    • integrate DDS-Security logging plugin (unified way to aggregate security events and report them to the users through a ROS interface) [**]

    • key storage security (right now, keys are just stored in the filesystem) [**]

    • more user friendly interface (make it easier to specify security config). Maybe a Qt GUI? This GUI could also assist in distributing keys somehow. [***]

    • A way to say “please secure this running system” with some UI that would auto-generate keys and policies for everything that is currently running. [***]

    • If there are hardware-specific features for securing keys or accelerating encryption/signing messages, that could be interesting to add to DDS/RTPS implementations that don’t use it already. [***]

Port of existing ROS 1 functionality

Reducing Technical Debt

  • Extend testing and resolve bugs in the current code base

    • Waitset inconsistency

    • Multi-threading problems with components

  • Fix flaky tests.

  • Ability to run (all) unit tests with tools e.g. valgrind

  • API review, specifically user-facing APIs in rclcpp and rclpy

  • Refactor the rclcpp API into separate packages focused on a single aspect, rclcpp should afterward still provide the combined user-facing API

  • Revisit message allocators, consider using std::polymorphic_allocator to address problems

  • Modernization

    • Support/use exporting CMake targets (rather than using CMake variables like *_INCLUDE_DIRS, *_LIBRARIES)

    • Use C++17 filesystem features rather than custom code

    • Use pybind11 for rclpy

    • Move to f-strings in Python code

    • Use setup.cfg files for Python packages

  • Synchronize / reconcile design docs with the implementation.

    • Pre-release retrospective review (APIs, docs, etc.)

  • Address / classify pending tickets

  • Address TODOs in code / docs