Comparison to related approaches

Micro-ROS brings ROS 2 to microcontrollers. Here, we perform an analysis of the related approaches and eventually show a comparison table.


ROSSerial is a protocol for wrapping standard ROS serialized messages and multiplexing multiple topics and services over a device such as a serial port or network socket. In addition to a protocol definition, there are three types of packages found in this suite:

  • Client Libraries: Client libraries allow users to easily get ROS nodes up and running on various systems. These clients are ports of the general ANSI C++ rosserial_client library.

  • ROS-side Interfaces: These packages provide a node for the host machine to bridge the connection from the rosserial protocol to the more general ROS network.

  • Examples and Use Cases.

It is worth saying that this option cannot be fully compared with micro-ROS because this approach is meant to work with ROS 1, instead of micro-ROS which is focused on ROS 2.

Reference: ROSserial Wiki


RIOT-ROS2 is a modification of the main ROS 2 stack, to make it able to run on microcontrollers thanks to the RIOT Operating System.

ROS 2 is composed of several layers. Some have been modified to be able to run on the microcontroller, this is a list of the available layers for RIOT-ROS2 project:

  • ROS Client Library bindings: RCLC
  • ROS Client Library: RCL
  • ROS MiddleWare: rmw_ndn
  • ROS IDL Generators: generator_c
  • ROS IDL Type Support: CBOR
  • ROS IDL Interfaces:
    • common_interfaces
    • rcl_interfaces

As a final data, it looks like the development is frozen. This consideration is due to the fact that the last commit goes back to July 2018.


Comparation table

  rosserial RIOT-ROS2 micro-ROS
OS bare-metal RIOT NuttX, FreeRTOS and Zephyr
Communications architecture Bridged N/A Bridged
Message format ROS1 N/A CDR (from DDS)
Communication links UART UART UART, SPI, IP (UDP), 6LowPAN, …
Communication protocol Custom NDN XRCE-DDS (or any rmw implementation)
Code Base Independent implementation Standard ROS 2 stack up to RCL Standard ROS 2 stack up to RCL (RCLCPP coming)
Node API Custom rosserial API RCL,RCLC RCL (soon RCLCPP)
Callback execution Sequential, in order of messages N/A Choice of ROS 2 executors or MCU optimized executors
Timers Not included Not included Normal ROS 2 timers
Time sync to host Custom N/A NTP/PTP
Lifecycle Not supported Partial Partial, full coming