Install ROS Indigo on desktop computer

Perform these install steps on the computer responsible for human input and visualization.

Some assumptions about your Ubuntu Install

These instructions make the following assumptions about your Ubuntu 14.04LTS install. These are not hard and fast rules, however, the instructions assume these things. When asked during the install you should select the following:

  • username : si

  • computer name : SIDEV1

  • password : Welcome00

  • The SSH client and server are installed.
    • If not run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openssh-client
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Setup your ROS sources.list

Setup your computer to accept software from ROS Indigo ONLY supports Saucy (13.10) and Trusty (14.04) for debian packages.

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

Set up your ROS keys

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-key 421C365BD9FF1F717815A3895523BAEEB01FA116

ROS Installation

Make sure the Debian package is up to date:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ros-indigo-desktop-full

Initialize rosdep

sudo rosdep init
rosdep update

Getting rosinstall

Rosinstall is a frequently used command-line tool in ROS that is distributed separately. It enables you to easily download many source trees for ROS packages with one command.

sudo apt-get install python-rosinstall

Install required packages

Connected to the internet run the following commands:

Install useful Linux utilities

These tools are useful for monitoring system processes, setting up networking, and setting up NTPD for the remote computer. They are not necessary but recommended.

sudo apt-get install iperf chrony htop bridge-utils

Install required ROS third party packages for segway_v3_robot

These are the packages that RMP V3 depends on:

sudo apt-get install ros-indigo-navigation ros-indigo-gmapping ros-indigo-robot-localization ros-indigo-yocs-cmd-vel-mux ros-indigo-joy ros-indigo-urg-node ros-indigo-lms1xx ros-indigo-pointgrey-camera-driver ros-indigo-cmake-modules ros-indigo-imu-tools daemontools openssh-server libpcap0.8-dev

Add yourself to the dialout group

This is necessary if you have serial, or serial-USB devices:

sudo adduser $USER dialout

Environment setup

Edit the local bash environment to add a few useful aliases

gedit ~/.bashrc

Add the following lines to the end of the file each provides a few shortcuts:

source /opt/ros/indigo/setup.bash
alias sws='source ./devel/setup.bash'
alias clean_backups='find ./ -name '*~' | xargs rm'
alias clean_pyc='find ./ -name '*.pyc' | xargs rm'
alias clean_rosbuild='rm -rf build devel install'

#change SIBOT1 to whatever you onboard PC name is
export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://$ROBOT_PC_NAME:11311

# This is the IP of the remote desktop it set eth0 to whatever NIC your using to connect to the platform
# It grabs whatever IP is associated with that NIC
export ROS_IP=$(ip -4 address show eth0 | grep 'inet' | sed 's/.*inet \([0-9\.]\+\).*/\1/')

#change SIBOT1 to whatever you onboard PC name is
alias s1='ssh -X sibot@SIBOT1'

Now, make sure you close all terminals and open a new one to make the changes effective.

Setup Workspace

Create a workspace in your home directory.

mkdir -p ~/segway_remote_ws/src
cd ~/segway_remote_ws/src
cd ..

Download and install ROS software packages

cd ~/segway_remote_ws/src
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
cd ..

Network Setup

You need to set the network up for the connection to the robot PC. This is an outline and is intended to be a guide.

Please make sure you have completed the Robot Setup and that the system is powered on with the networking setup. If you purchased a Navigator package with integrated PC from Stanley Innovation, this will already be done for you.

Setup Wireless Router

To connect with the platform these instructions assume you will be using a wireless router. Instructions for our recommended wireless router are here Wireless Router

Local ROS Networking Configuration

The file that contains the relevant networking is


This file is setup by default for the ROS master. In this case, the PC on the robot is the master. So we need to change:

export ROBOT_NETWORK=wlan0

to the network device associated with your wireless NIC and




The contents of your file should now look like:

# Set this to whatever physical port you are using to communicate externally 
# (eg. eth0, eth1, wlan0,...etc)
export ROBOT_NETWORK=wlan0
export ROS_IP=$(ip -4 address show $ROBOT_NETWORK | grep 'inet' | sed 's/.*inet \([0-9\.]\+\).*/\1/')

# Set this to the IP address of the ROS master if it is this computer just 
# use ROS_IP defined above; if it is say the remote computer it would be
export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://$ROS_MASTER_IP:11311/

Configure networking on desktop computer

  • Connect to the wireless network. If you purchased a Navigator package from Stanley Innovation, the SSID is


where XX is the day, YY is the month, and ZZ is the year that the router was configured.

  • The password is:

  • You can either use a static IP or just use the DHCP that was setup on the wireless router
    • DHCP is typically best
  • Make sure you can ping the wireless router

  • And now make sure you can ping the Robot PC


Setup Robot PC Name Resolution

  • We need to add the robot pc to our known hosts list so we can resolve it by name:

sudo gedit /etc/hosts
  • Add the following line: SIBOT1
  • Save and close

Make sure you can ping the robot

From the terminal

ping sibot1

Setup an SHH connection

You need to be able to SSH into the robot PC here are some basic instructions

These are a quick review of the defaults because they affect this section directly:

  • Robot PC user name: sibot

  • Robot PC name: SIBOT1

  • Robot PC IP address:

  • Remote Desktop user name: si

  • Remote Desktop PC name: SIDEV1

  • password for both users: Welcome00

  • ssh port (standard): 22

Setup your SSH Keys

Open a terminal and create the RSA key pair:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

Once you have entered the Gen Key command, you will get a few more questions:

Enter file in which to save the key (/home/si/.ssh/id_rsa):

You can press enter here, saving the file to the user home (in this case, my example user is called si).

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):

It's up to you whether you want to use a passphrase. The robot network generally isn't connected to public networks. Entering a passphrase does have its benefits: the security of a key, no matter how encrypted, still depends on the fact that it is not visible to anyone else. Should a passphrase-protected private key fall into an unauthorized users possession, they will be unable to log in to its associated accounts until they figure out the passphrase, buying the hacked user some extra time. The only downside, of course, to having a passphrase, is then having to type it in each time you use the Key Pair.

The entire key generation process looks like this:

ssh-keygen -t rsa
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/si/.ssh/id_rsa): 
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in /home/si/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/si/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
4a:dd:0a:c6:35:4e:3f:ed:27:38:8c:74:44:4d:93:67 si@sidev1
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
|          .oo.   |
|         .  o.E  |
|        + .  o   |
|     . = = .     |
|      = S = .    |
|     o + = +     |
|      . o + o .  |
|           . o   |
|                 |

Copy the public key

Once the key pair is generated, it's time to place the public key on the robot PC.

You can copy the public key into the new machine's authorized_keys file with the ssh-copy-id command. From the terminal:

ssh-copy-id sibot@SIBOT1

You should see something like this:

The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is b1:2d:33:67:ce:35:4d:5f:f3:a8:cd:c0:c4:48:86:12.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
sibot@SIBOT1's password:

Now enter the password you chose for the robot PC and you should see:

Now try logging into the machine, with "ssh 'sibot@SIBOT1'", and check in:


to make sure we haven't added extra keys that you weren't expecting.

You should now be able to ssh into the robot PC. Test it to make sure. From the terminal:


At this point you should be able to successfully establish a connection with the robot computer. If not stop and troubleshoot the networking and the ssh connection.

You can now close the ssh connection with:


Setup chrony

  • If you are going to be running ROS nodes on a remote computer it is a good idea to setup chrony to synchronize time between the machines
  • The onboard robot PC should ideally run the server
  • Specific directions for setting up chrony can be found online

Wiki: Robots/RMPv3/indigo/core_desktop_computer_setup (last edited 2017-09-25 18:19:04 by MattHarding)