Install ROS on your computer

Having ROS on your host machine has many advantages. First of all, it allows you to communicate with nodes running on your Rover, so it is easier to introspect ROS network. Also, it lets you run nodes on your computer, so you can launch part of the node network in your host machine such as graphical interfaces and visualization tools.

There is a couple of ROS installation options depending on your system:

A. Linux Installation

If you have Linux distribution installed (either natively or on virtual machine) you can follow instructions on ROS wiki.

ROS repository contains prebuild packages for ubuntu and debian systems. Kinetic distribution is available for Ubuntu Xenial (16.04 LTS) and Debian Jessie. Melodic requires Ubuntu Bionic (18.04 LTS) or Debian Stretch.

B. Windows 10 WSL

Ensure that Windows Subsystem for Linux feature is enabled by opening PowerShell as Administrator and running:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Reboot when prompted

Install Ubuntu 16.04 from Microsoft Store and open the application.

You can now follow steps from ros installation tutorial on ROS wiki.

To run graphical applications, you need to install X server on Windows. We recommend using VcXsrv. Install it and run with default configuration except for Native OpenGL which should be unchecked (otherwise, rviz may fail to launch)

In your ubuntu session, type:

echo "export DISPLAY=:0" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Now, to test it, run roscore on one session and rqt or rviz on another.

Windows is not a supported platform for ROS at the moment, so some parts may not work as expected

C. Bootable USB drive with Ubuntu

We prepared a bootable image with Ubuntu 16.04 and ROS preinstalled. It supports 64-bit architecture and both UEFI and Legacy boot. The image can be found here.

You will need an USB drive with at least 8GB storage capacity. To flash the image you can follow the same instructions as when flashing Rover image to SD card:

Keep in mind that this will wipe all your data from the drive.

Now boot your computer from USB drive. Choose the first option in GRUB menu. User should be automatically logged and desktop environment should appear.

Open terminal (Ctrl+Shift+t shortcut) and type:

sudo ./extend-rootfs.sh

When asked for password, type ubuntu. This script will extend your root partition to fill the whole drive.