How To Convert a Quaternion Into Euler Angles in Python

mobile_robot_in_3d

Given a quaternion of the form  (x, y, z, w) where w is the scalar (real) part and x, y, and z are the vector parts, how do we convert this quaternion into the three Euler angles:

  • Rotation about the x axis = roll angle = α
  • Rotation about the y-axis = pitch angle = β
  • Rotation about the z-axis = yaw angle = γ
yaw_pitch_rollJPG

Doing this operation is important because ROS2 (and ROS) uses quaternions as the default representation for the orientation of a robot in 3D space. Roll, pitch, and yaw angles are a lot easier to understand and visualize than quaternions.


Here is the Python code:

import math

def euler_from_quaternion(x, y, z, w):
		"""
		Convert a quaternion into euler angles (roll, pitch, yaw)
		roll is rotation around x in radians (counterclockwise)
		pitch is rotation around y in radians (counterclockwise)
		yaw is rotation around z in radians (counterclockwise)
		"""
		t0 = +2.0 * (w * x + y * z)
		t1 = +1.0 - 2.0 * (x * x + y * y)
		roll_x = math.atan2(t0, t1)
    
		t2 = +2.0 * (w * y - z * x)
		t2 = +1.0 if t2 > +1.0 else t2
		t2 = -1.0 if t2 < -1.0 else t2
		pitch_y = math.asin(t2)
    
		t3 = +2.0 * (w * z + x * y)
		t4 = +1.0 - 2.0 * (y * y + z * z)
		yaw_z = math.atan2(t3, t4)
    
		return roll_x, pitch_y, yaw_z # in radians

Example

Suppose a robot is on a flat surface. It has the following quaternion:

Quaternion [x,y,z,w] = [0, 0, 0.7072, 0.7072]

What is the robot’s orientation in Euler Angle representation in radians?

quaternion_to_euler_1JPG

The program shows that the roll, pitch, and yaw angles in radians are (0.0, 0.0, 1.5710599372799763).

quaternion_to_euler_2

Which is the same as:

Euler Angle (roll, pitch, yaw) = (0.0, 0.0, π/2)

And in Axis-Angle Representation, the angle is:

Axis-Angle {[x, y, z], angle} = { [ 0, 0, 1 ], 1.571 }

So we see that the robot is rotated π/2 radians (90 degrees) around the z axis (going counterclockwise). 

And that’s all there is to it folks. That’s how you convert a quaternion into Euler angles.

You can use the code in this tutorial for your work in ROS2 since, as of this writing, the tf.transformations.euler_from_quaternion method isn’t available for ROS2 yet.