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Tools for simulating humanoid robot dynamics: A survey based on user feedback

Serena Ivaldi; Jan Peters; Vincent Padois; Francesco Nori
In: 14th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots. IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids-2014), November 18-20, Madrid, Spain, Pages 842-849, IEEE, 2014.


The number of tools for dynamics simulation has grown substantially in the last few years. Humanoid robots, in particular, make extensive use of such tools for a variety of applications, from simulating contacts to planning complex motions. It is necessary for the humanoid robotics community to have a systematic evaluation to assist in choosing which of the available tools is best for their research. This paper surveys the state of the art in dynamics simulation and reports on the analysis of an online survey about the use of dynamics simulation in the robotics research community. The major requirements for robotics researchers are better physics engines and open-source software. Despite the numerous tools, there is not a general-purpose simulator which dominates the others in terms of performance or application. However, for humanoid robotics, Gazebo emerges as the best choice among the open-source projects, while V-Rep is the preferred commercial simulator. The survey report has been instrumental for choosing Gazebo as the base for the new simulator for the iCub humanoid robot.

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