Skip to content
Switch branches/tags

ROS2 Docker crosscompiling tools for Raspberry Pi

Prepare a ROS2 workspace and fetch any dependencies

We'll be using python3-vcstool to retrieve the ROS2 source code. On a Debian/Ubuntu system we can just install it and the rest of the dependencies with the following:

$ sudo apt install wget git python3-vcstool qemu-user-static python3-parted python3-requests

Now that we have the required dependencies for fetching the ROS2 source code, we can now create a ROS2 workspace:

$ mkdir -p ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_ws/src
$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_ws
$ wget
$ vcs import src < ros2.repos

For crosscompiling ROS2, we're going to use Polly. Polly is a collection of CMake scripts for compiling software for a huge variety of targets, including the Raspberry Pi, iOS and many others.

$ cd ~/ros2_rpi
$ git clone

We're going to use a Docker image as the host compiler, so let's clone this repository and build the Docker image for the cross compiler:

$ cd ~/ros2_rpi
$ git clone
$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools
$ cat Dockerfile.bootstrap | docker build -t ros2-raspbian:crosscompiler -

Convert Raspberry's OS (Raspbian) image to a Docker image/container

The script will fetch the latest Raspbian image and convert it into a Docker image so it can be run on the host as a Docker container.

$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools
$ ./ ros2-raspbian

Alternatively, the script can also convert an already downloaded Raspbian image instead of fetching it:

$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools
$ ./ -i raspbian_lite_latest ros2-raspbian

The script can also upload the generated image to Dockerhub or fetch the Desktop variant of Raspbian, type -h to see all the options that the script accepts.

Export the Raspbian filesystem

Now that we have a Raspbian Docker image, we can just run a container for it and execute any commands as if we were running them on an actual Raspberry. We'll use that to install the ROS2 dependencies on the container and export the filesystem of the container to the host machine. Let's use the script included in this repository to automate the process:

$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools
$ ./ ros2-raspbian:lite ros2_dependencies.bash ros2-raspbian-rootfs.tar

The script will generate a ros2-raspbian-rootfs.tar file with the contents of a Raspbian filesystem with all the ROS2 dependencies already included.

Building ROS2 for the Raspberry Pi

We can finally crosscompile ROS2 for the Raspberry Pi!

$ mkdir -p ~/ros2_rpi/rpi-root
$ cd ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools
$ sudo tar -C ~/ros2_rpi/rpi-root -xvf ros2-raspbian-rootfs.tar
$ docker run -it --rm \
    -v ~/ros2_rpi/polly:/polly \
    -v ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_ws:/ros2_ws \
    -v ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_raspbian_tools/build_ros2.bash:/build_ros2.bash \
    -v ~/ros2_rpi/rpi-root:/raspbian_ros2_root \
    -w /ros2_ws \
    ros2-raspbian:crosscompiler \
    bash /build_ros2.bash

The newly built ROS2 workspace can be copied to a Raspberry with scp:

$ scp -r ~/ros2_rpi/ros2_ws/install_isolated RASPBERRY_PI:/home/pi/

And now the ROS2 examples and demos (both C++ and Python) can be run on the Raspberry Pi, just make sure to source the corresponding environment:

$ source /home/pi/install_isolated/local_setup.bash
% ros2 run demo_nodes_py talker


Tools for crosscompiling ROS2 for the Raspberry Pi




No releases published


No packages published