Setup of Allied Vision Camera with VimbaSDK and ROS node

How to setup and use avt_vimba_camera node

Assuming an x86_64 system and a GiGE PoE camera

Driver Setup

  1. Download the Vimba SDK from Allied Vision website
  2. Extract the contents of the file
  3. Go to Vimba_2_1/VimbaGigETL/
  4. Execute sudo ./ This will add a couple of files inside /etc/profile.d
  5. The SDK will ask you to logout and login again. If you don’t wish to do so, execute source /etc/profile.d/
  6. Connect the camera.
  7. You’re ready to use the camera.

Change Camera IP Address

Initially the camera is running on DHCP mode. If you wish to change this.

  1. Go to Vimba_2_1/Tools/Viewer/Bin/x86_64bit/
  2. Execute sudo -E ./VimbaViewer
  3. Right Click the camera and Press Open CONFIG
  4. Go to the Tree and Open the GiGE root and the configuration subnode
  5. Change IP Configuration Mode to Persistent
  6. Move to the Persistent tree and change the Persistent IP Address to the desired value.
  7. Finally Click on IP Configuration Apply and click the Execute button
  8. Close the CONFIG MODE window
  9. After a few moments, the camera will appear showing the selected IP.

View Image Stream from Camera

  1. Go to Vimba_2_1/Tools/Viewer/Bin/x86_64bit/
  2. Execute sudo -E ./VimbaViewer
  3. Right Click the camera while in the viewer
  4. Select Open FULL ACCESS
  5. A new Window will appear, press the Blue Play button

ROS Node setup

  1. Once the driver is working, install the node using sudo apt-get install ros-xxxx-avt-vimba-camera. Where xxxx represents your ROS distro.
  2. From Autoware launch in a sourced terminal roslaunch runtime_manager avt_camera.launch guid:=SERIALNUMBER or roslaunch runtime_manager avt_camera.launch

SERIAL NUMBER or IP Address were previously obtained from the Configuration tool.

Dynamic configuration

The avt_vimba_camera package supports dynamic configuration.

Once the node is running execute rosrun dynamic_reconfigure dynparam get /avt_camera to get all the supported parameters.

To change one execute:
rosrun dynamic_reconfigure dynparam set /avt_camera exposure_auto_max 500000

this will update the maximum auto exposure time to 500 ms.

For extra details on dynamic_reconfigure check:

Continental ARS 308-21 SSAO Radar setup

*Originally written by Ekim Yurtsever.*

This is a short setup guide for Continental ARS 308-21 SSAO Radar node. This guide covers the following topics;


  1. Requirements and the hardware setup
  2. A brief introduction to CAN bus communication using Linux
  3. Radar configuration
  4. Receiving CAN messages on ROS
  5. Using the Autoware RADAR Node


1. Requirements


  1. Continental ARS 308-21 SSAO Radar
  2. 12V DC power supply
  3. Can interface device
  4. Can adaptor*


  • Ubuntu 14.04 or above
  • ROS
  • ROS Packgage: socketcan_interface (

*: Adaptor is needed for the termination of the can circuit. From the technical documentation of Continental ARS 308-2C/-21;

“Since no termination resistors are included in the radar sensor ARS 308-2C and ARS 308-21, two 120 Ohm terminal resistors have to be connected to the network (separately or integrated in the CAN interface of the corresponding unit).”


Hardware setup

1-Connect the devices as shown below

Fig 1. Hardware setup. 

2-Turn on the power supply. The device should start working with audible  operation.

2. A brief introduction to CAN bus communication using Linux

There are various ways to communicate with CAN bus. For linux, SocketCAN is one of the most used CAN drivers. It is open source and comes with the kernel. Furthermore it can be used with many devices. If a different vendor driver is liked to be used however, please refer to  that drivers manual for communicating via CAN bus.

First load the drivers. The device sends the messages with a specific bitrate, if it is not matched the stream would not be synchronized. Therefore the ip can link must be set with the bitrate of the device.  Bitrate for this device is constant at 500000/s and cannot be changed. Below is an example sniplet for setting can device can1:

$ modprobe can_dev
$ modprobe can
$ modprobe can_raw
$ sudo ip link set can1 type can bitrate 500000
$ sudo ifconfig can1 up

Now the connection between the computer and the sensor is established.

For checking the information sent by the device, a user friendly tool package called can-utils can be used with SocketCAN for accessing the messages via the driver.

Get the can-utils;

$ sudo apt-get install can-utils

Display the can messages from can1;

$ candump can1

A stream of CAN messages should be received at this point. An example of the message stream is shown below;

The can messages sent from the device have to be converted into meaningful information. Can messages have headers to identify the content of the message. Below the headers and the content of the messages sent from the Radar are shown;

0x300 and 0x301 are the input signals. The ego-vehicle speed and yaw rate can be sent to the device. If this information is provided, the radar will return detected objects’s positions and speeds relative to the ego-vehicle. If this information is not sent, the radar will assume that it is stationary.

0x600, 0x701 and 0x702 are the output messages of the radar. The structure of these messages are given below;

Figure 2. Message structure of 0x600
Figure 3. Message structure of 0x701. The physical meanings are given also.

3. Configuring the radar

The radar must be configured first to receive tracked object information. This device does not transmit raw data from the radar scans. Instead, its microcontroller reads the raw sensing data and detects/tracks objects with its own algorithm (this algorithm is not accesable). The sensor sends the detected/tracked object information through the CAN bus.

The default behavior of the device is to send detected objects (not tracked). In order to receive tracked object messages, 0x60A, 0x60B and 0x60C, a configuration message has to be sent. The following command will send the configuration message using the can-utils for receiving tracked object messages:

$ cansend can1 200#0832000200000000 

Now 0x60A, 0x60B and 0x60C messages can be received instead of 0x600, 0x701 and 0x702. We can check this by dumping the CAN stream on the terminal screen with the following command again:

$ candump can1 

The stream should include 0x60A, 0x60B and 0x60C messages now.

4. Receiving CAN messages on ROS

Ros package socketcan_interface is needed to receive can messages in ROS. This package is used with the socketCAN.

Install socketcan_interface;

$ sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-socketcan-interface 

Test the communication in ros;

$ rosrun socketcan_interface socketcan_dump can1

This should display the received messages in ROS. An example is shown below;

With socketcan_interface a driver for this device can be developed. However there is already a ready can driver in ros called ros_canopen.  Install this package with the following command;

$ sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-ros-canopen

This package will be used to publish the can messages received from the device in the ROS environment.

The socketcan_to_topic node in the  socketcan_bridge package can be used to publish topics from the can stream. First, start a ROS core and then launch this node with the name of the can port as an argument (e.g can1).

$ roscore
$ rosrun socketcan_bridge socketcan_to_topic_node _can_device:="can1"

This will publish a topic called “received_messages”.  Check the messages with the following command:

$ rostopic echo /received_messages

This should show the received messages. We are interested in the “id” and “data” fields. An example of the received_messages is shown below.

Running Apollo 2.0 – GPU

This is a brief guide to getting Apollo 2.0 up and running. It is based on the Apollo README with additional setup for the Perception modules.


  • Ubuntu 16.04 (also works on 14.04).
  • Nvidia GPU. Install the drivers as described here. You don’t need CUDA installed (it’s included in the Apollo docker). On 16.04 you will need a new-ish version – the below is tested using 390.25. The Apollo recommended 275.39 will not work on 16.04, but will work on 14.04. However, as this requires a newer GCC version that breaks the build system, it is much easier to go straight to the 390.25 driver.

Download code and Docker image

  1. Get the code:
    git clone
  2. If you don’t have Docker already:
  3. Then log out and log back in again.
  4. Pull the docker image. The script downloads the docker image (or updates it if already downloaded) and starts the container.
    cd apollo/

Install Nvidia graphics drivers in the Docker image

  1. Check which driver you are using (in host) with nvidia-smi.
  2. First off we need to enter the container with root priveledges so we can install the matching graphics drivers.
    docker exec -it apollo_dev /bin/bash

    where ***.** is the driver version running on your host system.
    Note: Disregard the Apollo instructions to upgrade to GCC 4.9. Not only is it not necessary with newer versions of the Nvidia drivers, but it will make the build fail. Stick with the GCC version of 4.8.4 which comes in the Docker image.
  3. Now install the drivers:
    chmod +x NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-***.**.run
    ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-***.**.run -a --skip-module-unload --no-kernel-module --no-opengl-files

    Hit ‘enter’ to go with the default choices where prompted. Once done, check that the driver is working with nvidia-smi.
  4. To create a new image with your changes, check what the container ID of your image is (on the host):
    docker ps -l
  5. Use the resulting container ID with the following command to create a new image (on the host):
    docker commit CONTAINER_ID apolloauto/apollo:NEW_DOCKER_IMAGE_TAG
    where CONTAINER_ID is the container ID you found before, and NEW_DOCKER_IMAGE_TAG is the name you choose for your Apollo GPU image.

Build Apollo in your new Docker image

  1. To get into your new docker image, use the following:
    ./docker/scripts/ -l -t NEW_DOCKER_IMAGE_TAG
  2. Now you should be able to build the GPU version of Apollo:
    ./ clean
    ./ build_gpu

Run Apollo!

  1. From within the docker image, start Apollo:
  2. Check that Dreamview is running at http://localhost:8888.
  3. Set up in Dreamview by selecting the setup mode, vehicle, and map in the top right. For the sample data rosbag, select “Standard”, “Mkz8” and “Sunnyvale Big Loop”.
  4. Start the rosbag in the docker container with rosbag play path/to/rosbag.bag.
  5. Once you see the vehicle moving in Dreamview, pause the rosbag with the space bar.
  6. Wait a few seconds for the perception, prediction and traffic light modules to load.
  7. Resume playing the rosbag with the spacebar.

Once the rosbag playing is complete, to play it again you have to first shutdown with scripts/ stop and then repeat the above from step 1 (otherwise the time discrepancy stops the modules from working).