Skip to content

Software InstallationLink


This document describes how to run and compile the software for the ROMI Rover.


The software of the rover runs on Linux. It is not tied to a specific Linux distribution but we have tested it mostly on recent versions of Debian (includin Raspian) and Ubuntu.

The software is mostly writen in C++ and depends on the following libraries:

  • rcom: An inter-process communication framework. It provides real-time communication using UDP messages and high-level communication based on web protocols (HTTP, Websockets). The code is available on GitHub and separate documentation is available also.

  • libromi: The library with thd base classes for the romi rover: Code. This repository also contains the firmware for most of the microcontrollers used in the Rover, Plant Imager, and Cablebot.

  • romi-rover: All of the apps for the Romi rover, including romi-rover, romi-camera, and romi-cablebot. Code

Installing a Raspberry Pi from scratchLink

We use the Lite version of Raspbian. You can download it at There are several ways to prepare the disk image for the RPi. Check the page at (there’s lots of information available on this topic online) and follow the instructions that suit you best.

Once you have the SD card, connect RPi to screen, keyboard and network (ethernet), power up the board and log in (user pi, password raspberry). The first thing you want to do is change some of the default settings using the raspi-config tool. In the console type:

$ sudo raspi-config

The list of settings that you may want to look at includes:

1 Change User Password
2 Network Options
4 Localisation Options
   Change locales
   Change keyboard layout
5 Interfacing Options
   Enable SSH
8 Update

Next, create the user ‘romi’:

$ sudo adduser romi
$ sudo adduser romi dialout
$ sudo adduser romi video
$ sudo adduser romi sudo

After that, quit the current session and login again as user ‘romi’.

The nano text editor is installed by default but if you prefer anoher editor, now is a good time to install it:

$ sudo apt install emacs-nox (... or any editor you like :)

Install the developer tools:

$ sudo apt install build-essential cmake git

Install the software dependencies:

$ sudo apt install libpng-dev libjpeg9-dev
That's it. You should be ready.

Installing the romi-rover appsLink

The Reaspberry Pi comes with a file calles /etc/ that preloads an library for all applications. This mechanism conflicts with our use the Address Sanitizer to detect memory errors. So you should hide the existing file:

$ mv /etc/ /etc/

The installation has it own documentation on github.

Compiling the romi-cameraLink

The romi-camera application is used in the Rover, Cablebot, and Plant Imager. Because the camera uses the Raspberry Pi Zero, which has less RAM memory than its larger siblings.

The installation proceeds as described in the documentation of romi-rover-build-and-test. However, it is not necessary to compile all applications and limit this step to the camera app only:

$ mkdir build
$ cd build/
$ cmake ..
$ make romi-camera

Starting up the software manuallyLink

As explained in the rcom documentation, the rcom-registry has to be started before the other applications. It can be started remotely using ssh as follows:

$ ssh romi@camera.local /home/romi/romi-rover-build-and-test/build/bin/romi-camera \
    --registry <IP-ADDRESS-REGISTRY> --mode video --fps 5 --bitrate 12000000

In the second step, the romi-camera should be started up. The rcom c onnections use a time-out so there is some flexibility in the start-up order of the applications.

$ ./build/bin/rcom-registry

If you use any Python code, such as the Unet neural network for the image segmentation, the following script can be used:

$ python3 ./application/romi-python/ \
      --model-path <PATH-UNET-WEIGHTS> 

Lastly, the romi-rover application should be started.

$ ./build/bin/romi-rover --config $CONFIG_FILE \
    --session $SESSION_DIR --script $SCRIPT_FILE

A more elaborate example can be found in this script. It should be called indirectly using the intra-row-weeding-tbm script:

$ cd scrips
$ ./intra-row-weeding-tbm

Starting the apps on bootLink

Currently we are still using the old rc.local mechanism. The file /etc/rc.local is no longer included in more recent Ubuntu versions. If ls /etc/rc.local returns an error, you will have to create the file as follows:

$ sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Copy the following contents:

#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.

exit 0

Finally, make the script executable.

$ sudo chmod +x /etc/rc.local

To enable the apps on start-up, add the following line in /etc/rc.local, above the exit 0 line:


Rcom interfacesLink


The CNC interface is exported by the romi-camera application.

Method Parameters Return Description
camera:grab-jpeg-binary None A binary buffer with a JPEG-encoded image
camera:set-value name: the name of the setting, value: the numerical value None
camera:select-option name: the name of the option, value: the value as a string None


The CNC interface is exported by the oquam application.

Method Parameters Return Comments
cnc-homing None None Starts the homing procedure that puts the CNC's arm in the home position
cnc-moveto x, y, z: the position to move to, speed: the relative speed, as a fraction of the absolute speed None
cnc-spindle speed: the speed, between 0 and 1 None
cnc-travel path: a list of [x, y, z] points, speed: the relative speed None
cnc-get-range None The dimensions of the CNC, as [[xmin, xmax], [ymin, ymax], [zmin, zmax]]
cnc-helix xc, yc: the center point of the arc, alpha: the angle of the arc, z: to z-position to move to, speed: the relative speed None
cnc-get-position None Returns the position as