Tutorial: Integrating Isaac Perceptor with ROS2 Nav2 on a robot with Nova Orin Developer Kit

This will guide you through the most important steps to using the Nova Orin Developer Kit with ROS2 Nav2 on your own robot.

Benefits of integrating Isaac Perceptor with a Navigation Stack

By integrating Isaac Perceptor` with your navigation stack you can benefit from all advantages of camera-based perception:

  • Enhanced Obstacle Detection: Isaac Perceptor leverages camera-based local perception, allowing for the detection of low-lying obstacles that traditional 2D LiDARs may miss. This capability enhances the robot’s ability to navigate complex environments safely and efficiently.

  • Cost-Effective Solution: Cameras are significantly cheaper than 3D LiDARs, making Isaac Perceptor a cost-effective alternative without compromising on the quality of perception. This cost efficiency allows for broader deployment of advanced perception capabilities in various robotic applications.

  • Improved Semantic Understanding: Unlike LiDARs, cameras can provide rich semantic information about the environment. Isaac Perceptor can classify and identify specific objects, such as humans, and determine their positions. This advanced scene understanding enables more intelligent and context-aware navigation, crucial for applications in dynamic environments.

  • Future-Proofing: By incorporating camera-based perception, you are positioning your robotic system for future advancements in computer vision and AI. This approach ensures that your system remains adaptable and can take advantage of the latest innovations in perception technology.


For this tutorial, you must have completed the Tutorial: Running Camera-based 3D Perception with Isaac Perceptor It is also assumed that you are familiar with ROS2 Nav2 and that you are able to use it for lidar-based autonomous navigation on your robot. In this tutorial, we will guide you through essential steps to replace the lidar-based local perception with camera-based 3D perception from Isaac Perceptor.

Lastly, it is assumed that you have rigidly mounted the Nova Orin Developer Kit on your own robot and successfully completed calibration.


  1. Install the required apt-packages into your environment

    sudo apt-get install -y ros-humble-nova-developer-kit-bringup
  2. Add Isaac Perceptor to your existing ROS2 Nav2 launch file by including the perceptor.launch.py of the nova_developer_kit_bringup package.

    A rough example of the resulting launch filed is as follows. Please note that this launch file is incomplete and requires modifications and additions specific to your setup.

    from launch import LaunchDescription
    from launch.actions import IncludeLaunchDescription
    from launch.launch_description_sources import PythonLaunchDescriptionSource
    from launch_ros.substitutions import FindPackageShare
    def generate_launch_description():
        # Create the LaunchDescription object.
        launch_description = LaunchDescription()
        # Include the perceptor.launch.py from the nova_developer_kit_bringup package
        perceptor_launch = IncludeLaunchDescription(
            launch_arguments={'stereo_camera_configuration': 'front_left_right_configuration'}.items()
        # Add any other ROS2 nodes you might need here.
        # Include the Nav2 lidar localization:
        localization_launch = IncludeLaunchDescription(
            # Make sure to replace the parameters below with valid paths.
                'map': 'path/to/map/yaml',
                'params_file': 'path/to/nav2/parameters'
        # Include the Nav2 launch file:
        nav2_launch = IncludeLaunchDescription(
            # Make sure to replace the params_file below with a valid path.
            launch_arguments={'params_file': 'path/to/nav2/parameters'}.items(),
        return launch_description


You can customize the sensor configuration of Isaac Perceptor by providing the stereo_camera_configuration launch argument. For a detailed description of all available configurations refer to Tutorial: Stereo Camera Configurations for Isaac Perceptor.


If you are using node composition please make sure to use separate ROS2 component containers for the Perceptor nodes and the Nav2 nodes. The Perceptor nodes have to be in a component_container_mt container, whereas the Nav2 nodes cannot be in a component_container_mt node due to a race-condition in ROS2 humble’s action server.

  1. Update your Nav2 parameters to include Isaac nvblox as a layer in the local costmap. We assume you have the Nav2 parameters stored in a YAML file. You will have to add the definition of the Isaac nvblox costmap layer to the parameters of your local costmap:

        plugin: "nvblox::nav2::NvbloxCostmapLayer"
        enabled: True
        nav2_costmap_global_frame: odom # must match with global_frame of local_costmap
        nvblox_map_slice_topic: "/nvblox_node/static_map_slice"
        convert_to_binary_costmap: True

    Additionally then also include the new nvblox_layer in the plugins parameter of the local costmap next to any other layers you may already have:

    plugins: ['nvblox_layer', '<any-additional-layers-you-may-have>']

    In summary, the parameters of your local costmap should now look something like this (you will most likely have additional costmap plugins and different parameters):

                footprint_padding: 0.03
                update_frequency: 5.0
                publish_frequency: 2.0
                global_frame: odom
                robot_base_frame: base_link
                rolling_window: true
                width: 5
                height: 5
                resolution: 0.05
                transform_tolerance: 0.3
                footprint: "[ [0.14, 0.25], [0.14, -0.25], [-0.607, -0.25], [-0.607, 0.25] ]"
                mark_threshold: 2
                always_send_full_costmap: True
                plugins: ['nvblox_layer', 'inflation_layer']
                    plugin: "nav2_costmap_2d::InflationLayer"
                    enabled: True
                    cost_scaling_factor: 10.0
                    inflation_radius: 0.8
                    plugin: "nvblox::nav2::NvbloxCostmapLayer"
                    enabled: True
                    nav2_costmap_global_frame: odom # must match with global_frame of local_costmap
                    nvblox_map_slice_topic: "/nvblox_node/static_map_slice"
                    convert_to_binary_costmap: True

Integration Reference Example

For a complete example of how to integrate Isaac Perceptor with ROS2 Nav2 we recommend taking a look at the navigation launch file for the Nova Carter robot.