Ignition Gazebo

API Reference


The battery system keeps track of the battery charge on a robot model.

Currently, one battery per model is supported. When the battery drains completely, all joints of the corresponding model are turned off, meaning joint forces are set to 0.

All logic for battery consumption are encapsulated in a plugin.

A perfect battery

An ideal battery has a constant voltage while discharging and no internal resistance. Here's a minimum example of a perfect battery that can be added to a model:

<plugin filename="ignition-gazebo-linearbatteryplugin-system"
<capacity>2.5 </capacity>

<power_load> is a consumer-specific parameter. You can set this to a high value to see what happens when the battery drains. All others are properties of the battery.

Next, you can find a description of the SDF parameters used:

  • <battery_name>: The name of the battery.
  • <voltage>: Initial voltage of the battery (V).
  • <open_circuit_voltage_constant_coef>: Voltage at full charge (V).
  • <capacity>: Total charge that the battery can hold (Ah).
  • <power_load>: Power load on battery (W).
  • <fix_issue_225>: As reported here, there are some issues affecting batteries in Ignition Blueprint and Citadel. This parameter fixes the issues. Feel free to omit the parameter if you have legacy code and want to preserve the old behavior.

When setting the <capacity>, <voltage> of the battery and its <power_load>, keep in mind the following formula:

battery_runtime (hours) = <capacity> * <voltage> / <power_load>

Known limitations

If <fix_issue_225> is not set, the battery drains at a faster (100x) rate. In this case, the battery runtime should be calculated as follows:

battery_runtime (hours) = <capacity> * <voltage> / (<power_load> * 100)

Try a more realistic battery

If you need to model a more realistic battery, you can use the following advanced SDF parameters:

  • <open_circuit_voltage_linear_coef>: Amount of voltage decrease when no charge (V).
  • <initial_charge>: Initial charge of the battery (Ah).
  • <resistance>: Internal resistance (Ohm)
  • <smooth_current_tau>: Coefficient for smoothing current.

Please, refer to the battery specification to set the advanced values.


A battery can be charged if the SDF parameter <enable_recharge> is set to true. Here are the relevant SDF parameters related with charging:

  • <enable_recharge>: As mentioned, it should be true to enable recharging.
  • <charging_time>: Hours taken to fully charge the battery. Keep in mind that this value assumes no battery load while charging. If the battery is under load, it will take a longer time to recharge.
  • <recharge_by_topic>: If true, the start/stop signals for recharging the battery will also be available via topics. The regular Ignition services will still be available.

By default, two Ignition Transport services are available for managing charging:

  • /model/<model_name>/battery/<battery_name>/recharge/start: Enable recharging.
  • /model/<model_name>/battery/<battery_name>/recharge/stop: Disable recharging.

Both services accept an ignition::msgs::Boolean parameter.

Try out an example

A battery has been added to a demo world, which can be run using:

ign gazebo -v 4 linear_battery_demo.sdf -z 1000000

The blue vehicle on the left has a battery, while the one on the right does not. When the battery drains, the corresponding vehicle stops moving. Please, see ign-gazebo/examples/worlds/linear_battery_demo.sdf, where you can find the commands to visualize the state of the battery, as well as commands to start and stop the recharging.

To control the vehicles with keyboard, run

cd ign-gazebo/examples/standalone/keyboard
mkdir build && cd build
cmake .. && make
./keyboard ../keyboard.sdf

See more about the usage of the keyboard plugin in examples/standalone/keyboard/README.md.

Known Issues

  • The rate of consumption should be affected by torque. For example, going uphill should consume more power than going downhill.