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Archived: LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module Readme

This document has been archived and is no longer updated by National Instruments

Primary Software:
Primary Software Version: 2011
Primary Software Fixed Version: N/A
Secondary Software: N/A

I have not installed the LabVIEW Robotics Module. Can I still access the readme file?

This file contains important information about the LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module, including installation instructions, new features, and known issues.

System Requirements
Installation Instructions
Purchasing Robotics Run-Time Licenses
Accessing the Software and Help
Finding Examples
New Features
Behavior Changes
Known Issues
Bug Fixes


The LabVIEW Robotics Module is a software package that allows you to develop robotics applications using LabVIEW. The Robotics Module provides robotics-related algorithms, drivers that allow you to control certain sensors, hardware and software setup wizards, and example VIs that demonstrate robotics concepts.

System Requirements

The Robotics Module has the following requirements:

  • LabVIEW 2011 Full or Professional Development System (32-bit)
  • At least 350 MB of disk space
  • One of the following operating systems:
    • Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Windows XP SP2 or later (32-bit)
    • Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-bit)
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)

Note  Some Robotics Module features, such as the Robotics Project and Hardware Setup wizards and many examples, require additional National Instruments software, such as the LabVIEW Real-Time and FPGA Modules and the NI-RIO drivers. If you purchased the Robotics Starter Kit or Robotics Software Bundle, you have access to this software. If you purchased just the Robotics Module, select Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI License Manager to launch the NI License Manager, which displays the software to which you have access.

Installation Instructions

You can install all of your LabVIEW products—including the Robotics Module—using the LabVIEW Platform DVDs. You can find installation instructions for the module along with activation instructions in the following locations:

  • LabVIEW Release Notes, which are available in your LabVIEW software kit.
  • LabVIEW Platform DVDs Readme, which is available on the top-level of LabVIEW Platform DVD 1.

Note  If you purchased this product with an NI Software Suite or NI Product Bundle, such as the LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit or Software Bundle, use the installation media that shipped with your purchase to install this product.

To request additional LabVIEW Platform DVDs, refer to the National Instruments Web site (linked below).

Purchasing Robotics Run-Time Licenses

You must purchase a Robotics Module Run-Time License for each target machine not produced by National Instruments onto which you want to install a custom Robotics Module application. Refer to the National Instruments Web site (linked below) for more information about Robotics run-time licensing. Contact a National Instruments sales representative or visit to purchase run-time licenses.

Note  Other products you use to develop robotics applications also might require run-time licenses. Refer to the documentation for those products for information about purchasing run-time licenses.

Accessing the Software and Help

After you install the Robotics Module, select Start»All Programs»NI LabVIEW Robotics 2011 to launch the LabVIEW Robotics environment.

Refer to the Robotics Module book on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for more information about the Robotics Module.

Finding Examples

Select Help»Find Examples from LabVIEW to launch the NI Example Finder. LabVIEW examples for the Robotics Module are located in the Program Files (x86)\National Instruments\LabVIEW 2011\examples\robotics directory. You can modify an example VI to fit an application, or you can copy and paste from one or more examples into a VI that you create. Refer to the Robotics Module»Reusing Robotics Examples topic on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for information about adapting LabVIEW project-based examples that include hardware targets to fit a different target you want to use.

Some robotics examples require additional National Instruments software, such as the LabVIEW FPGA Module, Control Design and Simulation Module, or Vision Development Module. In the NI Example Finder, select an example and refer to the Information section for a list of software you must install to run the example.

Note  (Windows 7/Vista) When you open an FPGA VI in some LabVIEW project-based examples, the VI appears to have unsaved changes because the default LabVIEW font on Windows 7 and Vista differs from the default font on Windows XP. LabVIEW prompts you to save these cosmetic changes to the VI, which requires you to recompile the FPGA VI. If the VI has no other changes, you can save and recompile the VI to avoid this unsaved state when you open the FPGA VI in the future.

New Features

The LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module introduces the following enhancements.

Simulating Mobile Robots

The LabVIEW Robotics Module provides a simulator and tools you can use to design and control a simulated environment with mobile robots. Use the Robotics Environment Simulator Wizard to design an environment and the robots you want to simulate. After you design the simulated components, write VIs to manipulate the components in the simulator. When you finish writing simulation VIs, run them to start the simulator and view the simulation. Finally, you can deploy the same VIs to a real hardware target after making a few changes to prepare the VIs for hardware.

Refer to the Robotics Module»Simulating Mobile Robots book on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for more information about simulating mobile robots in LabVIEW.

Communicating with Simulated Sensors and Actuators

Use the drivers on the Device I/O with Simulation palette to communicate with robotics sensors and actuators. These drivers are useful in robotics applications because you can use the same driver to communicate with both real and simulated sensors and actuators. Thus, you can create and simulate a robotics application that includes sensor and actuator drivers and then deploy the application to a real hardware target with minimal changes to your code.

To access these drivers, browse to the Robotics»Sensors and Actuators»Device I/O with Simulation palette. If you need to communicate only with real devices, you can use the drivers on another palette, the Device I/O palette.

Refer to the Robotics Module»Communicating with Sensors and Actuators book on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for more information about using the Device I/O with Simulation drivers.

Controlling the Starter Kit Robot without Writing an FPGA VI

The Starter Kit palette contains VIs you can use to control real and simulated versions of the LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit robot. To access the Starter Kit VIs, browse to the Robotics»Starter Kit palette. Use the VIs on the subpalette that corresponds to your robot to interface with your robot similarly to how you use device drivers to interface with a sensor or actuator. For example, the Starter Kit palette contains VIs to initialize the robot, read from and write to the distance sensor and motor controllers on the robot, and then close the communication session.

Note  You must install all software on the LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit DVD before you can use the Starter Kit VIs with a real Starter Kit robot.

The Starter Kit VIs allow you to interact with the FPGA on the robot without writing an FPGA VI. These VIs also can operate with real or simulated versions of the Starter Kit robot just by using the appropriate initialization VI.

Refer to the Robotics Module»LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit book on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for more information about working with the Robotics Starter Kit. Use the NI Example Finder, available by selecting Help»Find Examples from LabVIEW, to browse or search for examples of using the Starter Kit VIs to control real and simulated Starter Kit robots. You also can access the example VIs from the labview\examples\robotics directory.

Robotics Environment Settings

The Robotics Module defines its own LabVIEW environment settings that allow you to focus LabVIEW on robotics-related development. For example, the Robotics environment settings include access to wizards, customized palette views, and other resources. To change from one environment to another without restarting LabVIEW, select Tools»Choose Environment to display the Choose Environment Settings dialog box, which you can use to change environments.

New VIs and Nodes

The Robotics palette includes the following new VIs and nodes:

  • The new Simulator palette includes the following new VIs you can use with the robotics simulator:
    • Continue Simulator Service
    • Get Simulator Reference
    • Pause Simulator Service
    • Start Simulator Service
    • Stop Simulator Service
  • The Offline Configuration subpalette of the Simulator palette includes the following new VIs and nodes:
    • Load Simulation Instance
    • New Simulation Object
    • Property Node (Simulator Engine)
    • Save Simulation Instance
  • The Steering palette includes the following new VIs:
    • Apply Velocity to Motors
    • Draw Steering Frame Picture
    • Get Velocity from Motors
  • The Advanced palette of the Steering palette includes the new Reposition Wheels on Steering Frame VI.

Refer to the Robotics Module»Robotics VIs book on the Contents tab of the LabVIEW Help for more information about these VIs.

New Drivers

The Device I/O palette includes the following new drivers:

  • The Electronic Compasses subpalette includes PNI Fieldforce TCM drivers.
  • The Motors subpalette includes Parallax Standard Servo drivers.
  • The new RFID subpalette includes APSX RW Series drivers.
  • The new Text to Speech Devices subpalette includes V-Stamp drivers.

The new Device I/O with Simulation palette includes the following drivers that communicate with both real and simulated sensors and actuators:

  • The GPS subpalette includes u-blox 5 Series drivers.
  • The Infrared Range Finders subpalette includes Sharp IR GP2D12 drivers.
  • The Laser Range Finders subpalette includes Hokuyo URG Series drivers.
  • The Motors subpalette includes the following drivers:
    • DC Motor Controller
    • Hitec HS400 Series
    • Parallax Standard Servo
  • The Sonar subpalette includes Parallax PING))) drivers.

New Examples

The labview\examples\robotics directory includes the following new examples:

  • Robot Communications\Network Streams\Robot Communications using Network Streams.lvproj
  • Simulator\Goalkeeper\Goalkeeper.lvproj
  • Simulator\iRobot Create\Simulated iRobot.lvproj
  • Simulator\Robot Balance\Robot Balance.lvproj
  • Simulator\Robot Maze\Multiple Robots in Maze.lvproj
  • Simulator\Traffic\Traffic.lvproj
  • Starter Kit 1.0\Starter Kit 1.0.lvproj
  • Starter Kit 2.0\Starter Kit 2.0.lvproj
  • Starter Kit 2.0 Custom FPGA\Starter Kit 2.0 Custom FPGA.lvproj

Behavior Changes

The LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module introduces the following behavior changes.

Upgrade and Compatibility Issues

Certain VIs are deprecated or moved in the Robotics Module 2011. If you open a VI developed with the Robotics Module 2010 or earlier that contains one of these VIs, the VI is broken. Remove the missing VI or call it from the correct location on disk.

The following VIs are deprecated or moved:

  • The Skilligent VIs are deprecated. Refer to the National Instruments Web site (linked below) to access the Skilligent VIs.
  • The MobileRobots VIs, properties, and methods are deprecated.
  • Certain utility VIs that manipulate angles are rewritten in LabVIEW 2011. These VIs, located in the vi.lib\robotics\utility directory, did not appear on the Robotics palette. Replace instances of these utility VIs from previous versions of the Robotics Module with VIs from the Mathematics»Geometry»Angle palette.
  • Certain driver VIs for use in FPGA applications moved on disk. In the Robotics Module 2010 and earlier, the VIs are part of examples located at labview\instr.lib\device\FPGA Example, where device is the name of the sensor or actuator. In the Robotics Module 2011, the VIs moved to directories at labview\instr.lib\device\FPGA.

Palette and VI Changes

The Robotics Module 2011 includes the following changes to palettes and VIs:

  • The Apply Velocity to Wheels and Get Velocity from Wheels VIs include a wheel indexes input that allows you to specify specific wheels on which you want to operate.
  • The Sensing palette is renamed as the Sensors and Actuators palette. Subpalettes for traditional device drivers are located under a new Device I/O subpalette.
  • The Motion palette is renamed as the Motors palette.
  • In the Get Sentence Parts, Get Sentence Type, and Validity Check VIs on the NMEA Advanced palette, the valid sentence ? output is renamed valid sentence?.

Changes to Third-Party Add-on Offerings

In the Robotics Module 2010, the installation media you purchased contains the Cogmation Toolkit for LabVIEW and the TORC JAUS Toolkit for LabVIEW. In the Robotics Module 2011, you must obtain the toolkits separately. Refer to the LabVIEW Tools Network (linked below) for more information about the Cogmation Toolkit. Refer to the TORC Web site (linked below) for more information about the TORC JAUS Toolkit.

Known Issues

You can access the software and documentation known issues list online. Refer to the National Instruments Web site for an up-to-date list of known issues in the Robotics Module.

Bug Fixes

The following items are the IDs and titles of a subset of issues fixed in the LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module. This is not an exhaustive list of issues fixed in the current version of the Robotics Module. If you have a CAR ID, you can search this list to validate the issue has been fixed.

ID Fixed Issue
233753 The Hardware Setup Wizard installer upgrades incorrectly.
235756 Undo doesn't work with the attitude and compass indicators.
236687 Serial Arm visualization VIs incorrectly treat prismatic joints as revolute joints.
238493 An flash.ocx error occurs when exiting LabVIEW Robotics mode if Flash is not installed.
238691 Cannot deploy the Starter Kit roaming executable as a start-up application.
241835 The Starter Kit roaming example uses the wrong wheel separation value.
244642 In the Starter Kit roaming example, if the velocity setpoint goes beyond ±32 rad/s, the direction of the motor reverses.
246660 Apply Velocity to Wheels and Get Velocity from Wheels VIs do not allow selection of specific wheels.
277023 The no valid path exists output of the A* VI doesn't indicate when no path is found.
279868 Poor performance with the attitude and compass controls.
292411 Error –2318 on first run of the 3D Mecanum Robot example.

Important Information


© 2011 National Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved.

I.     For copyright notices, conditions, and disclaimers, including information regarding certain third-party components used in LabVIEW, refer to the Copyright topic of the LabVIEW Help.

II.     The Open_Dynamics_Engine_notice.pdf file contains a third-party copyright notice for third-party components used by certain Robotics Module features. The following directory is the default installation location for the file, but the location might vary depending on the configuration of the local computer:

National Instruments\LabVIEW 2011\readme


LabVIEW, National Instruments, NI,, the National Instruments corporate logo, and the Eagle logo are trademarks of National Instruments Corporation. Refer to the Trademark Information at for other National Instruments trademarks.

Other product and company names mentioned herein are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.


For patents covering the National Instruments products/technology, refer to the appropriate location: Help»Patents in your software, the patents.txt file on your media, or the National Instruments Patent Notice at

Related Links:
Request LabVIEW Platform DVDs
KnowledgeBase: LabVIEW Robotics Run-Time Licensing 
Community: Skilligent VIs
LabVIEW Tools Network
TORC Web site: JAUS Toolkit
Developer Zone: LabVIEW 2011 Robotics Module Known Issues


Report Date: 06/06/2011
Last Updated: 07/29/2011
Document ID: 5M592KO7

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