Back in September 2011, Robotiq CEO, Samuel Bouchard, was happily surprised at the collaboration between Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), a private R&D organization based in San Antonio, Texas, and Motoman, one of the largest industrial robot makers in the world, to develop a ROS interface for the Motoman SIA20 7-axis robot.
"This could be the beginning of something big," Bouchard wrote. "If more industrial robotics companies adopt ROS, this could enable a lot of technology transfer from the research world to real-world applications."
Bouchard was right. In a single year, ROS-I has generated a powerful following among independent manufacturers, with a focus on legal standardization in addition to standard interfaces and interchangability.
In addition, ROS-I went global. The ROS-Industrial Consortium is now an international network of automation R&D organizations with a European center located at the famed Fraunhofer IPA in Germany.
Check out the video below to glimpse how some of robotics' biggest manufacturers have contributed their hardware to the open source cause.