the Robot Construction Kit

What is Rock?


Rock is a software framework for the development of robotic systems. The underlying component model is based on the Orocos RTT (Real Time Toolkit). Rock provides all the tools required to set up and run high-performance and reliable robotic systems for wide variety of applications in research and industry. It contains a rich collection of ready to use drivers and modules for use in your own system, and can easily be extended by adding new components. The framework was developed to specifically address the following issues in existing solutions:

sustainable systems. The architecture and the tools in Rock are designed with long-living systems in mind. In practice, it means that for us, error detection, reporting and handling is key in any robotic architecture.

scalability. Provide the tools to be able to manage big systems with a minimum fuss. But we don’t require you to learn about these (complex) tools right away: as soon as you use rock’s component development tool, oroGen, you have the guarantee that your components can be integrated from simple scenarios using hardcoded C++ behaviors, to Ruby scripts up to the complete system monitoring tools.

reusable codebase. Even though we think that the rock toolchain is one of the best out there, some other people might feel differently. And they might be right. That’s why, in rock, most of the functionality – from control to data display through data processing – is implemented in a way that is totally independent from rock’s integration framework. That’s right: just pick our drivers, localization algorithms and control loops and integrate them in your integration framework. You don’t have to do anything on our side, as the code is completely independent from the integration parts.


Rock has initially been developed by the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center. It is based on the Orocos Toolchain, whose primary contributor is the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

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