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Oct 23, 2019

iceoryx - true zero-copy inter-process-communication

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Great that you've made it to this neat Eclipse project! Let's get you started by providing a quick background tour, introducing the project scope and all you need for installation and a first running example.

So first off: What is iceoryx?

iceoryx is an inter-process-communication (IPC) middleware for various operating systems (currently we support Linux, macOS, QNX, FreeBSD and Windows 10). It has its origins in the automotive industry, where large amounts of data have to be transferred between different processes when it comes to driver assistance or automated driving systems. However, the efficient communication mechanisms can also be applied to a wider range of use cases, e.g. in the field of robotics or game development.

iceoryx uses a true zero-copy, shared memory approach that allows to transfer data from publishers to subscribers without a single copy. This ensures data transmissions with constant latency, regardless of the size of the payload. For more information have a look at the 1000 words iceoryx introduction.

You're right, middleware is a cluttered term and can somehow be all or nothing. To get a better impression what this means for iceoryx, please have a loot at our goals and non-goals.

Don't get too frightened of the API when strolling through the examples. Think of the untyped C++ and the C API as a "plumbing" one ("plumbing" as defined in Git, which means low-level). We're not using the "plumbing" APIs ourselves, but instead the typed C++ API. The normal use case is that iceoryx is integrated as high-performance IPC transport layer in a bigger framework with additional API layers. An example for such a "porcelain" API would be ROS 2. Others are listed in the next section.

You can find the full API documentation on 🌐

Supported Platforms

Operating System supports access rights for shared memory command line parsing
Linux yes yes
QNX yes yes
MacOS no, not planned for implementation yes
Windows 10 no, not planned for implementation will be implemented
FreeBSD (Unix) no, not planned for implementation yes

In general unix platforms should work with iceoryx but we only test FreeBSD on our CI.

Where is Eclipse iceoryx used?

Framework Description
ROS 2 Eclipse iceoryx can be used inside the Robot Operating System with rmw_iceoryx
eCAL Open-source framework from Continental AG supporting pub/sub and various message protocols
RTA-VRTE AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform software framework for vehicle computer from ETAS GmbH
Cyclone DDS Performant and robust open-source DDS implementation maintained by ZettaScale Technology
Apex.Middleware Safe and certified middleware for autonomous mobility systems from Apex.AI
AVIN AGNOSAR AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform Product from AVIN Systems

Build and install

You can find the build and installation guidelines here.


After you've built all the necessary things, you can continue playing around with the examples.

Build and run in a Docker environment

If you want to avoid installing anything on your host machine but you have Docker installed, it is possible to use it to build and run iceoryx applications.

Please see the dedicated for information on how to do this.


Quality levels & platforms

Quality level are 5 to 1+, where 1+ is highest level.

Please see the Quality Declaration for details of the quality measures according to ROS 2 guidelines.

CMake project/target Current Level Target Level QNX Target Level
Linux, Windows, macOS
iceoryx_hoofs 2 1+ 1 Except code in the namespace aux
iceoryx_posh 2 1+, 2 1 Except code in the namespace aux
iceoryx_binding_c 2 1+ 1
iceoryx_examples 5 4 4 All example code in this folder
iceoryx_dds 4 4 4
iceoryx_introspection 5 4 4
iceoryx_meta 5 5 5

Is something missing or you've got ideas for other nifty examples? Jump right away to the next section!


Please refer to the for a quick read-up about what to consider if you want to contribute.

Planned features

Get to know the upcoming features and the project scope in

Innovations enabled by iceoryx

Name Description Technologies
Larry.Robotics An iceoryx demonstrator for tinker, thinker and toddler Demonstrator
iceoryx-rs Experimental Rust wrapper for iceoryx Rust
IceRay An iceoryx introspection client written in Rust Rust

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Governance & maintainers

Please have a look at the