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Creating vehicle interface#

How to implement a vehicle interface#

The following instructions describe how to create a vehicle interface.

1. Create a directory for vehicle interface#

It is recommended to create your vehicle interface at <your-autoware-dir>/src/vehicle/external

cd <your-autoware-dir>/src/vehicle/external

2. Install or implement your own vehicle interface#

If there is an already complete vehicle interface package (like pacmod_interface), you can install it to your environment. If not, you have to implement your own vehicle interface by yourself. Let's create a new package by ros2 pkg create. The following example will show you how to create a vehicle interface package named my_vehicle_interface.

ros2 pkg create --build-type ament_cmake my_vehicle_interface

Then, you should write your implementation of vehicle interface in my_vehicle_interface/src. Again, since this implementation is so specific to the control device of your vehicle, it is beyond the scope of this document to describe how to implement your vehicle interface in detail. Here are some factors that might be considered:

  • Some necessary topic subscription of control commands topics from Autoware to control your vehicle:
Topic Name Topic Type Description
/control/command/control_cmd autoware_auto_control_msgs/msg/AckermannControlCommand This topic includes main topics for controlling our vehicle like a steering tire angle, speed, acceleration, etc.
/control/command/gear_cmd autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/GearCommand This topic includes gear command for autonomous driving, please check message values to make sense of gears values. Please check the message definition of this type.
/control/current_gate_mode tier4_control_msgs/msg/GateMode This topic describes control on the autoware or not. Please check GateMode message type for detailed information.
/control/command/emergency_cmd tier4_vehicle_msgs/msg/VehicleEmergencyStamped This topic sends emergency when autoware is on emergency state. Please check VehicleEmergencyStamped message type for detailed information.
/control/command/turn_indicators_cmd autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/TurnIndicatorsCommand This topic indicates a turn signal for your own vehicle. Please check TurnIndicatorsCommand message type for detailed information.
/control/command/hazard_lights_cmd autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/HazardLightsCommand This topic sends command for hazard lights. Please check HazardLightsCommand
/control/command/actuation_cmd tier4_vehicle_msgs/msg/ActuationCommandStamped This topic is enabled when you use raw_vehicle_command_converter for control your vehicle with TYPE B which we mentioned at Vehicle interface section. In summary, if you are using Type B on your vehicle, this topic appeared and included with gas, brake, steering-wheel actuation commands. Please check ActuationCommandStamped message type for detailed information.
etc. etc. etc.
  • Some necessary topic publication of vehicle status topics from vehicle interface to Autoware:
Topic Name Topic Type Description
/vehicle/status/battery_charge tier4_vehicle_msgs/msg/BatteryStatus This topic includes battery information. Please check BatteryStatus message type for detailed information. You can use this value as describing fuel level, etc.
/vehicle/status/control_mode autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/ControlModeReport This topic describes the current control mode of vehicle. Please check ControlModeReport message type for detailed information.
/vehicle/status/gear_status autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/GearReport This topic includes the current gear status of the vehicle. Please check GearReport message type for detailed information.
/vehicle/status/hazard_lights_status autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/HazardLightsReport This topic describes hazard light status of the vehicle. Please check HazardLightsReport message type for detailed information.
/vehicle/status/turn_indicators_status autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/TurnIndicatorsReport This topic reports the steering status of the vehicle. Please check SteeringReport message type for detailed information.
/vehicle/status/steering_status autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/SteeringReport This topic reports the steering status of the vehicle. Please check SteeringReport message type for detailed information.
/vehicle/status/velocity_Status autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/VelocityReport This topic gives us the velocity status of the vehicle. Please check VelocityReport message type for detailed information.
etc. etc. etc.

This diagram as an example for communication of vehicle interface and autoware with describing sample topics and message types.


Sample demonstration of vehicle and autoware communication. There are some topics and types included in this diagram and it can be changed your desired control command or autoware updates.

You must create a subscriber and publisher with these topics on your vehicle interface. Let's explain with the simple demonstration of subscribing /control/command/control_cmd and publishing /vehicle/status/gear_status topics.

So, your YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE.hpp header file should be like this:

#include <autoware_auto_control_msgs/msg/ackermann_control_command.hpp>
#include <autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs/msg/gear_report.hpp>

class <YOUR-OWN-INTERFACE> : public rclcpp::Node
    // from autoware
    // from vehicle
    rclcpp::Publisher<autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs::msg::GearReport>::SharedPtr gear_status_pub_;
    // autoware command messages
    autoware_auto_control_msgs::msg::AckermannControlCommand::ConstSharedPtr control_cmd_ptr_;
    // callbacks
    void callback_control_cmd(
    const autoware_auto_control_msgs::msg::AckermannControlCommand::ConstSharedPtr msg);
    void to_vehicle();
    void from_vehicle();

And your YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE.cpp .cpp file should be like this:


  /* subscribers */
  using std::placeholders::_1;
  // from autoware
  control_cmd_sub_ = create_subscription<autoware_auto_control_msgs::msg::AckermannControlCommand>(
    "/control/command/control_cmd", 1, std::bind(&<YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE>::callback_control_cmd, this, _1));
  // to autoware
  gear_status_pub_ = create_publisher<autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs::msg::GearReport>(
    "/vehicle/status/gear_status", rclcpp::QoS{1});

void <YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE>::callback_control_cmd(
  const autoware_auto_control_msgs::msg::AckermannControlCommand::ConstSharedPtr msg)
  control_cmd_ptr_ = msg;

void <YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE>::to_vehicle()
  // you should implement this structure according to your own vehicle design

void <YOUR-OWN-VEHICLE-INTERFACE>::to_autoware()
  // you should implement this structure according to your own vehicle design
  autoware_auto_vehicle_msgs::msg::GearReport gear_report_msg;
  • Modification of control values if needed
    • In some cases, you may need to modify the control commands. For example, Autoware expects vehicle velocity information in m/s units, but if your vehicle publishes it in a different format (i.e., km/h), you must convert it before sending it to Autoware.

3. Prepare a launch file#

After you implement your vehicle interface, or you want to debug it by launching it, create a launch file of your vehicle interface, and include it to vehicle_interface.launch.xml which included in <VEHICLE_ID>_vehicle_launch package that we forked and created at creating vehicle and sensor description page.

Do not get confused. First, you need to create a launch file for your own vehicle interface module (like my_vehicle_interface.launch.xml) and then include that to vehicle_interface.launch.xml which exists in another directory. Here are the details.

  1. Add a launch directory in the my_vehicle_interface directory, and create a launch file of your own vehicle interface in it. Take a look at Creating a launch file in the ROS 2 documentation.

  2. Include your launch file which is created for vehicle_interface to <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch/<YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch/launch/vehicle_interface.launch.xml by opening it and add the included terms like below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <arg name="vehicle_id" default="$(env VEHICLE_ID default)"/>
    <!-- please add your created vehicle interface launch file -->
    <include file="$(find-pkg-share my_vehicle_interface)/launch/my_vehicle_interface.launch.xml">

Finally, your directory structure may look like below. Most of the files are omitted for clarity, but the files shown here needs modification as said in the previous and current process.

└─ src/
    └─ vehicle/
        ├─ external/
+       │   └─ <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_interface/
+       │       ├─ src/
+       │       └─ launch/
+       │            └─ my_vehicle_interface.launch.xml
+       └─ <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch/ (COPIED FROM sample_vehicle_launch)
+           ├─ <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch/
+           │  ├─ launch/
+           │  │  └─ vehicle_interface.launch.xml
+           │  ├─ CMakeLists.txt
+           │  └─ package.xml
+           ├─ <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_description/
+           │  ├─ config/
+           │  ├─ mesh/
+           │  ├─ urdf/
+           │  │  └─ vehicle.xacro
+           │  ├─ CMakeLists.txt
+           │  └─ package.xml
+           └─

4. Build the vehicle interface package and the launch package#

Build three packages my_vehicle_interface, <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch and <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_description by colcon build, or you can just build the entire Autoware if you have done other things.

colcon build --symlink-install --cmake-args -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release --packages-select my_vehicle_interface <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_launch <YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_description

5. When you launch Autoware#

Finally, you are done implementing your vehicle interface module! Be careful that you need to launch Autoware with the proper vehicle_model option like the example below. This example is launching planning simulator.

ros2 launch autoware_launch planning.launch.xml map_path:=$HOME/autoware_map/sample-map-planning vehicle_model:=<YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME> sensor_model:=<YOUR-VEHICLE-NAME>_sensor_kit


There are some tips that may help you.

  • You can subdivide your vehicle interface into smaller packages if you want. Then your directory structure may look like below (not the only way though). Do not forget to launch all packages in my_vehicle_interface.launch.xml.

    └─ src/
        └─ vehicle/
            ├─ external/
            │   └─ my_vehicle_interface/
            │       ├─ src/
            │       │   ├─ package1/
            │       │   ├─ package2/
            │       │   └─ package3/
            │       └─ launch/
            │            └─ my_vehicle_interface.launch.xml
            ├─ sample_vehicle_launch/
            └─ my_vehicle_name_launch/
  • If you are using a vehicle interface and launch package from a open git repository, or created your own as a git repository, it is highly recommended to add those repositories to your autoware.repos file which is located to directly under your autoware folder like the example below. You can specify the branch or commit hash by the version tag.

    # vehicle (this section should be somewhere in autoware.repos and add the below)
      type: git
      version: main

    Then you can import your entire environment easily to another local device by using the vcs import command. (See the source installation guide)