How to Install ROS 2 Navigation (Nav2)


In this tutorial, we will explore Navigation2 (Nav2), which is a collection of tools for ROS 2 that enable a robot to go from point A to point B safely. We will also take a look at a SLAM demo with a robot named Turtlebot 3. Here will be our final output:

Real-World Applications

Navigation is one of the most important tasks for a mobile robot. Navigation is about enabling a mobile robot to move from one location to another without running into any obstacles.

In order to navigate properly, a robot needs to have a map (mapping), know where it is located (localization), and have a plan for getting from point A to point B (path planning).


Install and Build Nav2

To install Nav2, open a new terminal window, and type the following commands:

sudo apt install ros-foxy-navigation2

Type Y and then Enter to continue.

sudo apt install ros-foxy-nav2-bringup

Type Y and then Enter to continue.

Install the Turtlebot 3 example.

Open a new terminal window, and type:

sudo apt install ros-foxy-turtlebot3*

Open a new terminal window, and type the following commands. One right after the other.

mkdir -p ~/nav2_ws/src
cd ~/nav2_ws/src
git clone --branch foxy-devel
cd ~/nav2_ws
rosdep install -y -r -q --from-paths src --ignore-src --rosdistro foxy
colcon build --symlink-install

It took a while to install Nav2 on my machine. Just be patient.

When Nav2 is finished installing, open your bash file.

gedit ~/.bashrc
source ~/nav_ws/install/setup.bash
export TURTLEBOT3_MODEL=waffle
export GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH=$GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH:/opt/ros/foxy/share/turtlebot3_gazebo/models
source /usr/share/gazebo/

Save the file, and close it.

cd ~/nav2_ws

Build it again, just to make sure everything is in order

colcon build

Test Your Installation

Now test your installation.

Open a new terminal window.

cd ~/nav2_ws
ros2 launch nav2_bringup

rviz2 will open.

Gazebo will also open, but it may take a while.


Move the Robot From Point A to Point B

Now go to the rviz2 screen.

Set the initial pose of the robot by clicking the “2D Pose Estimate” on top of the rviz2 screen. Then click on the map in the estimated position where the robot is in Gazebo.


Set a goal for the robot to move to. Click “Navigaton2 Goal” button and choose a destination. The wheeled robot will move to the goal destination.


In the bottom left of the screen, you can Pause and Reset.

Press CTRL + C on all terminal windows to close down the programs.

Install the SLAM Toolbox

Now that we know how to navigate the robot from point A to point B with a prebuilt map, let’s see how we can navigate the robot while mapping. This process is known as Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM).

Open a new terminal window. Type this command:

sudo apt install ros-foxy-slam-toolbox

Launch the SLAM launch file. Open a new terminal window, and type:

cd ~/nav2_ws
ros2 launch nav2_bringup

Now launch the robot.

ros2 launch nav2_bringup

Click the 2D Pose Estimate button and click on the rviz screen an estimate position where the robot is in Gazebo.

Then click the Navigation2 Goal button and click on an area of rviz where you want the robot to go.

Press CTRL+C in all terminals to shut everything down.

Here is another command you can run. This command launches Turtlebot3 and the SLAM package in a single command.

ros2 launch nav2_bringup slam:=True

That’s it. Keep building!