Isaac ROS NITROS Bridge


The Isaac ROS NITROS Bridge brings accelerated computing to versions of ROS where it is not supported, by improving the performance of bridging between ROS versions.

Isaac ROS provides accelerated computing ROS packages for robotics development in ROS 2 with NITROS; this is enabled with the addition of type adaptation (REP-2007) and type negotiation (REP-2009) in ROS 2 Humble, which is not available in previous versions of ROS.

Accelerated computing is essential to move beyond the limits of single threaded performance on a CPU. To take advantage of this, it may not be practical to migrate to a new version of ROS 2 for robotics applications that were developed previously. Some developers have chosen to bridge between their current version of ROS, and what is used with Isaac ROS. This improves existing robotics applications with the addition of accelerated computing; unfortunately, the ROS bridge includes a CPU based memory copy bridge toll.

Isaac ROS NITROS Bridge packages improves performance with a ROS bridge. The bridge toll is removed by moving data from CPU to GPU to avoid CPU memory copies. This significantly improves performance across processes in different versions of ROS. In addition the data in GPU memory can be used in place, by accelerated computing.

Illustrated above is the use of NITROS Converters between ROS Noetic and ROS 2 Humble. When sending an image from ROS Noetic to ROS 2 Humble, the NITROS converter moves the image to GPU accelerated memory avoiding CPU memory copies. On the Humble side of the bridge the NITROS converter adapts the image in GPU memory into a NITROS image for use with accelerated computing. This also works the other direction from ROS 2 Humble to ROS Noetic. When sending an NITROS image from Humble to Noetic, the NITROS Converter maintains the image in GPU accelerated memory avoiding CPU memory copies over the bridge, moving the image into CPU accessible memory in Noetic.

This same principle can be applied to ROS 2, for example between Foxy and Humble to take advantage of Isaac ROS in Humble, from applications developed in Foxy without migrating versions of ROS.

Illustrated above is the use of the ROS bridge without the benefits of NITROS converters. Images sent from Noetic to Humble and visa-versa are copies across the ROS processes using the CPU limiting performance and increasing latency.

By avoiding unnecessary CPU memory copies the Isaac ROS NITROS bridge improves accelerated computing performance and reduces end to end latency across versions of ROS.


Supported Platforms


Jetson aarch64

GPU x86_64






Isaac ROS NITROS Bridge does not yet support Jetson platforms.



The ROS Noetic environment requires more storage space than the usual Isaac ROS Dev Docker-based development environment. We recommend at least 60 GB, to account for the size of the ROS Noetic container and datasets.

On Jetson platforms, NVMe SSD storage is required for sufficient and fast storage. See here

  1. Set up your development environment by following the instructions here.

  2. Clone the isaac_ros_nitros_bridge repository and its dependencies under Isaac ROS workspace:

    mkdir -p $ISAAC_ROS_WS/src && cd $ISAAC_ROS_WS/src && \
    git clone && \
    git clone && \
    git clone && \
    git clone
  3. Create a ROS 1 workspace for experimenting with Isaac ROS:

    mkdir -p  ${HOME}/workspaces/isaac_ros_1-dev/src
    echo "export ISAAC_ROS_1_WS=${HOME}/workspaces/isaac_ros_1-dev/" >> ~/.bashrc
    source ~/.bashrc


    Note that we are going to use the ISAAC_ROS_1_WS environmental variable in the future to refer to this ROS 1 workspace directory.

  4. Clone the isaac_ros_noetic_interfaces and isaac_ros_nitros_bridge repositories into the isaac_ros_1-dev directory:

    cd $ISAAC_ROS_1_WS/src && \
    git clone && \
    git clone
  5. Configure the container created by isaac_ros_common/scripts/ to include ros1_noetic. Create the .isaac_ros_common-config file in the isaac_ros_common/scripts directory:

    cd ${ISAAC_ROS_WS}/src/isaac_ros_common/scripts && \
    touch .isaac_ros_common-config && \
    echo CONFIG_IMAGE_KEY=ros2_humble.ros1_noetic >> .isaac_ros_common-config && \
    echo "CONFIG_DOCKER_SEARCH_DIRS=(../../isaac_ros_nitros_bridge/docker)" >> .isaac_ros_common-config
  6. Remove the following two lines from in the isaac_ros_common/docker/scripts directory because ros1_bridge requires a specific setup.bash script sourcing order:

    echo "source /opt/ros/${ROS_DISTRO}/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc
    source /opt/ros/${ROS_DISTRO}/setup.bash
  7. Launch the Docker container:

    cd ${ISAAC_ROS_WS}/src/isaac_ros_common && \
    ./scripts/ ${HOME}/workspaces
  8. Build the custom ROS 1 packages and the ROS 2 packages. But do NOT build the ros1_bridge package:

    source /opt/ros/noetic/setup.bash && \
    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros_1-dev && \
    catkin_make_isolated --install --ignore-pkg isaac_ros_nitros_bridge_ros2 && \
    source /opt/ros/humble/setup.bash && \
    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev && \
    colcon build --symlink-install --packages-skip ros1_bridge


    You will see the following warning messages while building under ROS 2 Humble. This is expected as isaac_ros_nitros_bridge_ros1 and isaac_ros_ros1_forward are ROS Noetic packages and they are skipped from the building. Please ignore those warnings. not run installation step for package 'isaac_ros_nitros_bridge_ros1' because it has no 'install' target not run installation step for package 'isaac_ros_ros1_forward' because it has no 'install' target
  1. Attach a second terminal to the container:

    cd ${ISAAC_ROS_WS}/src/isaac_ros_common && \
    ./scripts/ ${HOME}/workspaces


    Do NOT close the first terminal when you attach this second terminal to the container.

  2. In the second terminal, build ros1_bridge and source the workspace:

    source isaac_ros_1-dev/install_isolated/setup.bash && \
    source isaac_ros-dev/install/setup.bash && \
    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev && \
    colcon build --symlink-install --packages-select ros1_bridge --cmake-force-configure && \
    source install/setup.bash

Now, we can playback a test rosbag through the bridge. The launch file will send out the images from the rosbag through the NITROS bridge from ROS 2 to ROS 1, then echo back to ROS2 for visualize.

  1. Pull down a rosbag of sample data:

    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev/src/isaac_ros_nitros_bridge && \
      git lfs pull -X "" -I "resources/quickstart.bag"
  2. (Optional) Run tests to verify complete and correct installation:

    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev && \
    colcon test --executor sequential --packages-skip ros1_bridge
  3. Run the following launch files to spin up a demo of this package:

    cd /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev && \
    source install/setup.bash && \
    ros2 launch isaac_ros_nitros_bridge_ros2 rosbag_path:=/workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros-dev/src/isaac_ros_nitros_bridge/resources/quickstart.bag/ ros1_ws_path:=/workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/isaac_ros_1-dev/
  4. Attach another terminal to the container, visualize the output topic /ros2_output_image in RViz:

    source isaac_ros-dev/install/setup.bash && \

Try Another Example

For an example of a more advanced setup with talkers and listeners, see here. For an example to run DNN image segmentation with NITROS bridge, see here.


Could not find a package configuration file provided by ament_cmake_auto


If you have both ROS 1 and ROS 2 installed in the Docker environment, you may see the following error message while building ROS 2 packages:

Could not find a package configuration file provided by "ament_cmake_auto"
with any of the following names:


You must source setup.bash from the ROS 2 installation before building:

source /opt/ros/humble/setup.bash





Initial release