Spot ROS Computer Setup


This driver has been tested using the steps below with Spot SDK version 2.3.5. Any version after this may have unexpected behviour.

The ROS driver was created and tested on Kinetic and Melodic

Setup Spot Core

If you have a Spot Core you can either use the latest Melodic ISO, set it up with BalenaEtcher, and install it onto the Core, or you can use the official SpotCORE image from Boston Dynamics.

If you are using a Jetson, follow the Jetson Setup Instructions

Once your backpack PC is setup, all steps below are to be followed on that PC

Installing Dependencies


If you are using Clearpath’s Melodic ISO you can skip immediately to the last step, “installing the dependencies for building the ROS driver for Spot” as the ISO will automatically add the ROS and Clearpath apt and rosdep sources for you.

If you are using the official SpotCORE image, you will need to add the ROS package sources:

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'
sudo apt install curl # if you haven't already installed curl
curl -s | sudo apt-key add -

Then add Clearpath’s package sources:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver 'hkp://' --recv-key C1CF6E31E6BADE8868B172B4F42ED6FBAB17C654
sudo apt update

Install the essential ROS packages:

sudo apt install ros-melodic-ros-base python-rosdep

Configure rosdep with both the official ROS and Clearpath sources:

sudo rosdep init
sudo wget -O /etc/ros/rosdep/sources.list.d/50-clearpath.list
rosdep update

Finally, install the additional dependencies needed to built the ROS driver for Spot:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y python3-pip bridge-utils git
pip3 install cython
pip3 install bosdyn-client bosdyn-mission bosdyn-api bosdyn-core
pip3 install empy

Setup Networking with ifupdown


If your computer uses Netplan, please scroll down for instructions on configuring the network using

Replace the /etc/network/interfaces file with the one below

auto lo br0 br0:0 br0:1
iface lo inet loopback

# Bridge together physical ports on machine, assign standard Clearpath Robot IP.
iface br0 inet static
  bridge_ports regex (eth.*)|(en.*)
  bridge_maxwait 0

# Dedicated port for spot
iface br0:0 inet static

# Also seek out DHCP IP on those ports, for the sake of easily getting online,
# maintenance, ethernet radio support, etc.
iface br0:1 inet dhcp


If you find that br0:0 is not coming up automatically on startup, you can add ifup br0:0 to /etc/rc.local. If /etc/rc.local doesn’t exist, create it and run sudo chmod +x /etc/rc.local to make it executable.

Setup Networking with


If your computer uses the older /etc/network/interfaces file and the ifupdown package to manage network interfaces, please scroll up for instructions on configuring the network

Remove any wired network configuration files from /etc/netplan. Wireless configuration files may be retained. Create the file /etc/netplan/50-ethernet-bridge.yaml with the following contents:

# Bridge together all physical ethernet ports and allow them to operate simultaneously on:
# - for ROS
# - for communicating with the Spot base platform
# - dhcp for wired external internet access
  version: 2
  renderer: networkd
      dhcp4: no
      dhcp6: no
        name: eth*
      dhcp4: no
      dhcp6: no
        name: eno*
      dhcp4: no
      dhcp6: no
        name: enp*
      dhcp4: no
      dhcp6: no
        name: enx*
      dhcp4: yes
      dhcp6: no
      interfaces: [bridge_eth, bridge_eno, bridge_enp, bridge_enx]

Run sudo netplan generate; sudo netplan apply or reboot the computer to apply the new network settings. Run ip a and verify that br0 has IP addresses on the and subnets.

Building the Driver from Source

As the driver hasn’t been released yet, it must be built from source. This requires a source workspace on the ROS PC.

mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws/src

Setup the workspace so it knows about your ROS installation

cd ~/catkin_ws/src
source /opt/ros/melodic/setup.bash

Clone the spot_ros repository into the workspace

cd ~/catkin_ws/src
git clone
git clone --branch 0.6.5

Use rosdep to install of the necessary dependencies

cd ~/catkin_ws/
rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -y

Once all the necessary packages are installed, build the packages in the workspace

cd ~/catkin_ws/
catkin_make --cmake-args -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/python3 -DPYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/include/python3.6m -DPYTHON_LIBRARY=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/

Source your newly built workspace and the packages inside

source ~/catkin_ws/devel/setup.bash