Willow Garage Announces Launch of Open Source Robotics Foundation

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 09, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Willow Garage today announced the formation of The Open Source Robotics Foundation, Inc. The OSRF is an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. Their mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development.

In conjunction with the formation of the OSRF, the Board of Directors was also announced. The Board of Directors comprises a worldwide collection of educators, leaders and visionaries in the field of robotics, including:

Wolfram Burgard. Dr. Burgard is a professor at the University of Freiburg where he leads the Laboratory for Autonomous Intelligent Systems. His major research interests lie in mobile robotics, state estimation and control, as well as artificial intelligence. Burgard is an active member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and a lifetime member of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Dr. Burgard is a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Ryan Gariepy. Mr. Gariepy is the co-founder and CTO of Clearpath Robotics. Clearpath Robotics specializes in the design and manufacture of robust and reliable unmanned vehicle solutions for industrial R&D. Gariepy’s belief in the need for a strong global robotics community resulted in Clearpath being the first field robotics company to fully adopt and support ROS. Mr. Gariepy manages Clearpath’s technology strategy and serves as the company’s lead system architect.

Brian Gerkey. Dr. Gerkey is Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage. Since 2008, Gerkey has worked on ROS, which develops and releases one of the most widely-used robot software platforms. He is also founding and former lead developer on the open source Player Project. For his work on Player and ROS, Technology Review recognized Gerkey with the TR35 award in 2011. Dr. Gerkey will be CEO of the OSRF.

Helen Greiner. Ms. Greiner is a co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks. She has also been honored as a Technology Review “Innovator for the Next Century” and has been awarded the DEMO God Award and DEMO Lifetime Achievement Award. Greiner serves as the elected President and Board Member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC), a non-profit organization established to speed the creation and deployment of ground robotics technology.

Sam Park. Mr. Park is the executive vice president of Yujin Robot. At Yujin Robot he has directed the commercialization of educational and entertainment robots, elderly service robots and home cleaning robots. Yujin Robot is one of South Korea’s first generation of service robotics companies and also a leading voice in the Korean robotics community. Before joining Yujin Robotics, Mr. Park was an industrial robotics engineer at Motorola.

The first initiative of the OSRF will be participation in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will launch in October 2012 and offers a $2 million prize “to whomever can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today’s capabilities in support of the DoD’s disaster recovery mission.”

“It’s always been the intention of Willow Garage to create an independent body that can take our initial work in open source robotics and see it grow beyond the confines of a single organization,” according to Steve Cousins, CEO of Willow Garage. “The reality is that the popularity of open source robotics in general, and ROS specifically, has grown beyond our wildest expectations. Willow Garage will enthusiastically support the goals of the OSRF.”

About The Open Source Robotics Foundation

The Open Source Robotics Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. The mission of the OSRF is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. The organization is based in Menlo Park, California. More information is available at http://www.osrfoundation.org and by following the OSRF on Twitter @OSRFoundation.

SOURCE: Willow Garage

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