Webots: robot simulation

Robot Simulation
Webots: robot simulation

Model. Program. Simulate. Transfer.

Why Webots?

Webots is a robot simulator that provides a complete development environment to model, program and simulate robots. Thousands of institutions worldwide use it for R&D and teaching. Webots has been codeveloped by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, thoroughly tested, well documented and continuously maintained since 1996. It is the most efficient solution to quickly get professional results including:

Webots will help you design a new service robot, a tiny toy robots, a big agriculture robot, a vaccum cleaner, a swarm of drones, an autonomous submarine, or whatever robotics system that moves and interacts with its environment through sensors and actuators. The 3D parts you need can be imported from your favorit modeling software. Within minutes, you can add a new sensor or actuator and immediatly evaluate its potential benefit on your robotics scenario. You can quickly test and validate control algorithms involving complex data processing, realistic vision and physics simulation.

Using Webots as a rapid prototyping tool will save you a lot of time in the development of your robotics project.

Because the Webots APIs are open, it is easy to use your favorit libraries and programming languages to implement your research prototype.

You can use Webots with OpenCV, TensorFlow, Keras, CUDA, various inverse kinematics libraries, genetic algorithms, ns3, etc.

Webots has been abundantly used and cited in the scientific litterature:

Students are motivated by the 3D computer graphics and powerful simulation technology.

They appreciate the ease-of-use of Webots, including the installation.

You can easily setup classroom exercises by sharing your Webots license with your students and providing them with template simulations as starting points.

Webots provides user interfaces to joysticks, including driving wheels and pedals so that you can build your own driving cockpit simulator. Additionally, it also provides interfaces to virtual reality headsets, such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Webots has been used by automobile manufacturers to test driver behaviors.

It is also used by instructors to teach how to remotely pilot real robots that operate in dangerous areas.

More and more customers are demanding working simulation models that correspond to real systems they use or would like to use.

Simulation models are often perceived as a great added value to an existing product.

By providing a simulation of your product to your customers, you will increase their commitment to your product.

Cyberbotics offers custom solutions to distribute your simulation models to your customers. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Webots Features

Webots relies on an extended version of the ODE physics engine which was improved on several aspects:

  • The contact points computation was improved to provide more accurate collisions and an increased stability.
  • The cylinder geometric primitive was redesigned from scratch to fix collision and stability problems.
  • A simple fluid dynamics capabilities was added to facilitate the simulation of drones and underwater robots.
  • Several optimizations were implemented, including multi-threading.

Several simulation models provided in Webots are calibrated against their real counterparts. This include various objects, sensors, actuators and robots. The calibration process consists in adjusting the physical parameters of objects and devices so that they behave like their physical counterparts. These physical parameters include the mass distribution, the friction coefficients, the bounding objects, the spring and damping properties, etc. Users can calibrate their own models to ensure realistic simulation results.

Webots allows you to quickly build various mechanical architectures of robots, including:

  • Articulated robots (legged robots, robotics arms)
  • Wheeled robots (Ackermann cars, differential drive)
  • Flying robots (quadcopters, helicopters, planes)
  • Swimming robots (boats, submarines, salamanders)
  • Modular robots (based on mechanical connector devices that can lock and unlock)

Multi-agent simulations can mix many different kinds of robot in the same simulation world.

Webots comes with libraries of calibrated models which you can re-use in your own simulations, or enrich with your own creations:

  • Robots: NAO, PR2, Altas, Pioneer 3-DX, Robotis OP2, e-puck, Thymio II, Aibo and more.
  • Sensors: Camera, Lidar, Distance Sensors, Radar, GPS, Accelerometer, Gyro, Radio Receiver and more.
  • Actuators: Rotational and Linear Motors, Servo, Gripper, Radio Emitter, LED, Display and more.
  • Objects: wall, door, box, chair, sofa, fridge, soda can, plants, rocks, soccer field and more.

Being open to the outside world, Webots offers several import functionalities:

  • Import 3D models using VRML97 from major modeling software (SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Blender, etc.).
  • Import maps from OpenStreetMap, GoogleMaps, including elevation data.
  • Import textures images to customize your models using either JPEG or PNG format.

Export functionalities include:

  • Export movies as MP4 files to share your simulation results, upload on youtube.
  • Export screenshots as JPEG or PNG images.
  • Export 3D animations on the web using X3D models that display on a web page with 3D navigation.
  • Export 3D simulations on the web with Webots running as a backend, like at robotbenchmark.net.

Webots offers you several programming options to control your simulated robots:

Similarly to robot programming, a user can program a simulation supervisor that will automate things during a simulation run, like move objects, reset positions of robots, store trajectory of robot, etc.

It is also possible to program a Physics Plugin to customize the physics of a simulation to add for example extra forces or torques (wind, perturbations) or handle contacts differently with for example some non-uniform friction model.

All these APIs are available directly from the Webots integrated development environment (IDE) that includes a source code editor and a scene tree editor. It is also possible to use these APIs from your favorit IDE.

Webots is available for Windows, Ubuntu Linux and macOS.

It runs pretty well on a standard laptop computer, but will reveal all its power on a desktop machine equiped with a modern graphics card. More details are provided in the Webots System Requirements.

The web interface of Webots for 3D models, 3D animations and 3D simulations works from all major recent iOS and Android tablets and phones.

Portfolio: they rely on Webots

Perrone Robotics is a company that develops software for autonomous vehicles and robotics. They integrated Webots into MAX, their flagship software solution for self-driving cars. MAX is a comprehensive full-stack, modular, real-time capable, customizable, robotics software platform for autonomous (self-driving) vehicles and general purpose robotics. The software enables rapid development of autonomous vehicles and other robotics applications. Perrone Robotics also makes extensive use of Webots simulations as a part of the testing and validation process for MAX. Our collaboration covers numerous areas, centered around routing, cartography, modeling, vehicle and traffic simulations.

The Renault driving platform was developed by Cyberbotics on behalf of the Renault-Nissan group to study human driver reactions to advanced guiding strategies. The system features a real time text-to-speech system providing guidance instructions. The simulation scenario includes a district of a real city that was imported from OpenStreetMap into Webots using to our importer technology. Simulated traffic is generated by the SUMO software which is interfaced to Webots. The immersion of the human driver is maximum: the user interface includes a gaming steering wheel with force feedback, a gear shift, pedals, motor sound and a virtual reality headset.

The INTRA indoor robot simulator was developed by Cyberbotics on behalf of the INTRA group (EDF, CEA, Areva) to train pilots of the EOLE and EROS remote controlled robots. These robots are designed to operate indoor in case of a nuclear accident. They are able to climb up and down stairs, pass over pipes, open doors, grasp objects, press buttons and rotate valve wheels. The robots have several onboard cameras equipped with lights whose point of view is displayed on control screens at the remote control station. The simulation was designed to be a replica of the real system and can be operated from the same control console as the real system. It permits an initial training of pilots without taking risks of damage on the real hardware.

The NAO for Webots simulation model was developed by Cyberbotics on behalf of SoftBank robotics (formerly Aldebaran robotics) to model a NAO humanoid robot in Webots. The model was carefully calibrated against real NAO robots to ensure that simulated robot controllers could smoothly transfer to the real world. An interface with Aldebaran NAOqi Operating System was implemented to connect the simulated model to the Choregraphe graphical programming software as well as the C++ NAOqi API. The simulated NAO model simulates all the servo motors of the real robot, including the fingers ; it also simulates the two on-board cameras, the sonar, the LEDs, the motor position and force-feedback, the IMU (accelerometer and gyro), the touch sensors in the head and force sensors in the feet of the robot.

The Sony Aibo simulator is a simulation model of the Sony Aibo robot. It was developed with Cyberbotics' proprietary technology for Sony Digital Creatures Lab, to design and test behaviors for Aibo. A soccer game system has been implemented, allowing the Aibo to track a colored ball with its on-board color camera. Resulting controllers could be transfered to real Aibo robots.

The Human Brain Project is a H2020 FET Flagship Project aimed at the research in the fields of neuroscience, computing and brain-related medicine. Cyberbotics is participating in the neurorobotics subproject and contributing with his expertize in simulation, benchmarking, real robots modelization and transfer to real robots. In particular, Cyberbotics is developing a set of benchmarks using calibrated robot models to evaluate the physical and the graphical simulation realism and assess the performance of the brain-driven controller programs. A simple and user-friendly web interface communicating with a Webots instance running on a powerful server machine was developed to provide benchmark simulations as a web service.

The RHEA Project was a four-year FP7 European IP project aimed at the design, development, and testing of a new generation of automatic and robotic systems for effective weed management focused on agriculture and forestry. This project was devoted to change the traditional way of proceeding by putting together a fleet of small, safe, reconfigurable, heterogeneous and complementary robots. Cyberbotics contributed to design the simulation of the ground and aerial robots and the graphical user interface for the RHEA base station.

The ICEA Project was a four-year FP6 European IP project aimed at developing robots that integrate cognition, emotions and autonomy (self-maintenance), based on the architecture and physiology of the mammalian brain. Cyberbotics developed 3D mobile robot simulations based on the Webots technology. The simulated bio-inspired robots were equipped with simulated sensors (vision, whiskers and proprioception) and simulated actuators (active whiskers, wheels, head/eyes/rearing movements and grippers).

Get Started

Follow these steps to become fluent in Webots:

  1. Learn 3D navigation in Webots: Viewpoint Control [online simulation]
  2. Program a robot in Python: Robot Programming [online simulation]
  3. Explore more advanced programming: robotbenchmark.net [online simulations]
  4. Download, install Webots and follow the Tutorials of the Webots User Guide
  5. Go further with the Cyberbotics Robot Curriculum

Official technical support is available through our support ticket service (answered within 24 business hours).

We also provide consulting, custom developments and training on demand.

Online support resources include:

  • Webots forum: to get advices possibly from other users.
  • Webots Rotation Tool: to combine 3D rotations in axis angle format.
  • Webots Terrain Generator: to generate textured terrains from Google Maps and Geonames.

About Us

Olivier Michel: founder and CEO. Valérie Michel: administration, sales and accounting.
Fabien Rohrer: user support and software development. Stefania Pedrazzi: user support and software development.
David Mansolino: user support and software development. Thomas Norton: user support and software development.

Webots development started in December 1996 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) when Olivier Michel was hired as a post-doc researcher by Prof. Jean-Daniel Nicoud.

The company was founded in 1998 as a spin off from the MicroComputing and Interface Lab (LAMI) of the EPFL. Cyberbotics' initial mentors included Prof. Jean-Daniel Nicoud, Prof. Francesco Mondada and Dr. Takashi Gomi.

From the very begining, Webots was used by the industry (Sony Corp.) and universities for research and education purposes.

Today, Webots is used by thousands of organizations worldwide, including both industry and academia.

We are located on the EPFL campus, Lausanne, Switzerland. Switzerland
Cyberbotics S.à r.l.
EPFL Innovation Park
Building C
1015 Lausanne

+41 77 440 76 25
Map to find out the EPFL in Lausanne.
Map to find out the Cyberbotics offices in EPFL (zoomable map).

sales@cyberbotics.com — sales inquiries
info@cyberbotics.com — general inquiries
webmaster@cyberbotics.com — contact webmaster.
open a support ticket — technical support.