Clearpath Robotics Launches the TurtleBot 4, Offering an Affordable Autonomous ROS 2 Robot Platform

Built on the iRobot Create 3 platform, these autonomous robots are powered by ROS 2, a Raspberry Pi 4, and OAK-D AI cameras.

Clearpath Robotics has launched its fourth-generation TurtleBot, imaginatively called TurtleBot 4, partnering with Open Robotics for a highly-expandable Robot Operating System (ROS) 2 platform available at what the company calls "an affordable price point."

"This year marks ten years since we started working with the Open Robotics' founding team on the TurtleBot 2," says Bryan Webb, Clearpath Robotics' president. "We are very excited to continue our support for the open source community by providing cutting-edge technology for robotics research, development, and education.

"Turtlebot 4 offers automatic charging, the latest sensors, and computing, as well as larger and heavier payload support. Furthermore, Clearpath Robotics is committed to offering a world-class user experience at an affordable price point."

The TurtleBot 4 has officially launched, offering an iRobot Create 3-based ROS 2 robotics platform with integrated OAK-D camera. (📹: Clearpath Robotics)

Built atop the iRobot Create 3, which was itself launched early last month, the TurtleBot 4 launches in two flavors: the TurtleBot 4 Lite includes an inertial measurement unit (IMU), optical floor tracking sensor, wheel encoders, infrared sensors, 2D LIDAR, and front-facing OAK-D-Lite depth-sensing camera with integrated neural coprocessor; the TurtleBot 4 Standard includes all of the aforementioned, but upgrades to the OAK-D-Pro camera and adds expansion capabilities via a power USB hub, power breakouts, and a top mounting plate, as well as a programmable display.

Both models include a Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer as the driving control system, arriving with ROS 2 already installed and configured — along with a Gazebo simulation model for those who want to test things out before sending the hardware off on a real-world errand. Both models also come with a charging dock supporting autonomous docking and charging.

"We're excited to be launching the first TurtleBot designed for ROS 2 from the ground up. I’m humbled by the success of the TurtleBot to date and looking forward to seeing how TurtleBot 4 takes the robotics community forward," says Tully Foote, co-creator of the TurtleBot. "More than 16,000 TurtleBots are already out in the world, and Clearpath is the perfect partner to deliver the next 16,000 and more."

Speaking to IEEE Spectrum, Webb also promised "at least one" formal education course based around the new TurtleBot 4, with "eyes towards other opportunities to extend that."

The TurtleBot 4 is available to order from Clearpath Robotics distributors now, priced at $1,195 for the Lite and $1,850 for the Standard models and shipping due to begin in July 2022; more information is available on the official website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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