Building and Bundling Robotic Applications with Colcon - AWS RoboMaker

Building and Bundling Robotic Applications with Colcon

AWS RoboMaker works with robotics applications built and bundled with colcon. colcon is a command line tool built by the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). It automates the building and bundling of ROS and ROS2 applications. It should be a drop-in replacement for catkin_make.

For more information about colcon, see Colcon. If you experience issues while building with colcon, see colcon-ros. For problems bundling with colcon, see colcon-bundle.

Installing Colcon

Use the following commands to install colcon and colcon-bundle:

apt-get update apt-get install python3-pip python3-apt pip3 install -U setuptools pip3 install -U colcon-common-extensions colcon-ros-bundle

If you already have colcon installed, you can install bundling support with the following command:

pip3 install -U colcon-ros-bundle

Using Colcon to Build and Bundle

If you are migrating from catkin, verify the following before you use colcon to build and bundle your robotic application:

  • All of the folders you want to include in the application are defined. For example, the following code includes common ROS folders launch and nodes in the install directory created by colcon. You can replace replace launch and nodes with the folders used by your application. Make sure this block is defined in your cMakeLists.txt file:


    For more information on CMakeList.txt and catkin, see catkin / CMakeLists.txt on

  • All of your application dependencies are installed through rosdep or pip. Make sure all of your dependencies are added to package.xml and/or an included requirements.txt file. If a dependency is not available in the public rosdep sources lists, you can create a custom sources list. To do this, follow the instructions on For more information about troubleshooting, see Troubleshooting Colcon Build and Bundle.

  • All of the arguments you are pathing through your launch file are defined as environment variables in the AWS RoboMaker simulation job. You can define environment variables using the console or the AWS RoboMaker SDK. For an example using an environment variable, see Using Environment Variables to Configure Play Back.

Use the following commands to build and then bundle your robotics application:

cd robotic-application-workspace colcon build colcon bundle

You can test your application prior to bundling and uploading with the following:

source install/ roslaunch package_name launch_file