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Microsoft is getting fully behind the quickly expanding robotics industry with bespoke support in Windows. At the ROSCon 2018 event in Madrid, the company announced ROS on Windows (Robot Operating System). The announcement closes Microsoft’s experimental support and bring an official ROS build.

Robot Operating System is a middleware from Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Willow Garage. The purpose of the platform is to deliver optimal performance for robotics-based machines. ROS provides several services to help companies deliver and manage their machines.

With the release of ROS on Windows, Microsoft is arguably getting behind robotics at the right time. The industry has enjoyed huge growth in recent years and is swiftly moving beyond a nascent market. Indeed, analysts predict the robotics sector will be worth around $500 billion by 2025.

“People have always been fascinated by robots. Today, advanced robots are complementing our lives, both at work and at home,” Lou Amadio, principal software engineer for Windows IoT, said in a blog post.

“As robots have advanced, so have the development tools. We see robotics with artificial intelligence as universally accessible technology to augment human abilities … [and] this development will bring the manageability and security of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise to the innovative ROS ecosystem.”

First Release

Microsoft calls the first full build of ROS on Windows ROS1. The company says the platform works integrated with Visual Studio and allows customers to expediate through features like Azure IoT, Azure Cognitive Service, and Windows Machine Learning.

As this is an entirely new service, Microsoft was eager to prove its usefulness. The company shows a ROBOTIS Turtlebot 3 robot operating within Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and ROS Melodic Morenia. If you are unfamiliar with the latter, it is a node that used Windows Machine Learning on an Intel Coffee Lake NUC.