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Robotic Platform Built on RISC-V Milk-V Meles with ROS2 Support

Jun 22, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 328 views

At the 2024 XUANTIE RISC-V Ecosystem Conference, a collaborative effort between Yahboom, milK-V, and ALIBABA DAMO Academy led to the unveiling of the RISC-V MicroROS educational robot. This robot, based on the Milk-V Meles SBC, is now available for purchase and provides an advanced learning platform for robotics enthusiasts and students.

The RISC-V MicroROS robot is powered by the Milk-V Meles single-board computer, which features a quad-core RISC-V 64GCVC910 processor with a maximum clock speed of 1.85 GHz.


Milk-V Meles
(click image to enlarge)

The MicroROS control board, based on the ESP32S3 dual-core development board, features a motor driver, servo driver, and a six-axis IMU. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, serial port communication, 4-channel encoder motors, 2-channel PWM servos, a lidar channel, and a PD power supply for the Milk-V Meles. Pre-installed firmware allows immediate access to the ROS2 environment, ensuring simplicity and efficiency in operation.

Key specifications of the ESP32 processor include a 240MHz main frequency clock, 512KB SRAM, 2MB PSRAM, and an operating voltage of 3V to 3.6V. It supports various communication interfaces, including SPI, I2S, I2C, UART, and USB OTG.

MicroROS Control Board
(click image to enlarge)

The ORBBEC MS200 TOF high-performance lidar used in the MicroROS robot employs TOF ranging, enduring 30Klux of strong light, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor mapping navigation. It has a measurement radius of up to 12 meters and a minimal blind zone of only 3 cm.

The lidar features high accuracy with a ranging error of ±2mm within 2 meters, a sampling frequency of 4500 times per second, and a scanning frequency of 7 Hz to 15 Hz. It supports a communication rate of 230400 bps, ensuring efficient data transmission for real-time applications.

MicroROS Robot Exploded View
(click image to enlarge)

The RISC-V MicroROS robot features a 2-degree-of-freedom camera pan/tilt system, equipped with a USB high frame rate HD camera and two metal servos. This setup allows motion tracking in both horizontal and vertical directions, making it suitable for visual depth development applications. The camera has a 2MP resolution with a wide-angle F2.8mm lens, capable of various video resolutions from 320 x 240 to 1920 x 1080.

It operates with low power consumption and is controlled via USB 2.0, supported by the DS-SO06M 9G metal digital servo for precise movement.

RISC-V MicroROS Robot
(click image to enlarge)

The product page mentions that this development platform is compatible with OpenEuler, an open-source Linux distribution that supports x86, ARM, and RISC-V architectures. It also supports ROS2 Humble Hawksbill and its software tools such as RViz, SLAM, MicroROS, and more.

Although the product page does not include documentation references, detailed documentation for the Milk-V Meles can be found on the Milk-V wiki pages.

Further information

This robotic platform costs $295.00 on the Arace Tech online store. The shipping list includes a fully assembled robot car body, metal chassis, and metal encoder reduction motors. It also contains assembled tires, the Milk-V Meles board, MS200 lidar, and a 2DOF camera PTZ. Additionally, the MicroROS control board, cooling fan, wireless controller, MicroSD card, and card reader are included among other accessories.

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