Introduction To Nav2 Specific Nodes


Vocabulary can be a large point of confusion here when first starting out.
  • A Node when discussing BTs is entirely different than a Node in the ROS 2 context

  • An ActionNode in the context of BTs is not necessarily connected to an Action Server in the ROS 2 context (but often it is)

There are quite a few custom Nav2 BT nodes that are provided to be used in the Nav2 specific fashion. Some commonly used Nav2 nodes will be described below. The full list of custom BT nodes can be found in the nav2_behavior_tree plugins folder. The configuration guide can also be quite useful.

Action Nodes

  • ComputePathToPose - ComputePathToPose Action Server Client (Planner Interface)

  • FollowPath - FollowPath Action Server Client (Controller Interface)

  • Spin, Wait, Backup - Behaviors Action Server Client

  • ClearCostmapService - ClearCostmapService Server Clients

Upon completion, these action nodes will return SUCCESS if the action server believes the action has been completed correctly, RUNNING when still running, and will return FAILURE otherwise. Note that in the above list, the ClearCostmapService action node is not an action server client, but a service client.

Condition Nodes

  • GoalUpdated - Checks if the goal on the goal topic has been updated

  • GoalReached - Checks if the goal has been reached

  • InitialPoseReceived - Checks to see if a pose on the intial_pose topic has been received

  • isBatteryLow - Checks to see if the battery is low by listening on the battery topic

The above list of condition nodes can be used to probe particular aspects of the system. Typically they will return SUCCESS if the condition is true and FAILURE otherwise. The key condition that is used in the default Nav2 BT is GoalUpdated which is checked asynchronously within particular subtrees. This condition node allows for the behavior described as “If the goal has been updated, then we must replan”. Condition nodes are typically paired with ReactiveFallback nodes.

Decorator Nodes

  • Distance Controller - Will tick children nodes every time the robot has traveled a certain distance

  • Rate Controller - Controls the ticking of its child node at a constant frequency. The tick rate is an exposed port

  • Goal Updater - Will update the goal of children nodes via ports on the BT

  • Single Trigger - Will only tick its child node once, and will return FAILURE for all subsequent ticks

  • Speed Controller - Controls the ticking of its child node at a rate proportional to the robot’s speed

Control: PipelineSequence

The PipelineSequence control node re-ticks previous children when a child returns RUNNING. This node is similar to the Sequence node, with the additional property that the children prior to the “current” are re-ticked, (resembling the flow of water in a pipe). If at any point a child returns FAILURE, all children will be halted and the parent node will also return FAILURE. Upon SUCCESS of the last node in the sequence, this node will halt and return SUCCESS.

To explain this further, here is an example BT that uses PipelineSequence.


<root main_tree_to_execute="MainTree">
    <BehaviorTree ID="MainTree">
  1. Action_A, Action_B, and Action_C are all IDLE.

  2. When the parent PipelineSequence is first ticked, let’s assume Action_A returns RUNNING. The parent node will now return RUNNING and no other nodes are ticked.


  1. Now, let’s assume Action_A returns SUCCESS, Action_B will now get ticked and will return RUNNING. Action_C has not yet been ticked so will return IDLE.


  1. Action_A gets ticked again and returns RUNNING, and Action_B gets re-ticked and returns SUCCESS and therefore the BT goes on to tick Action_C for the first time. Let’s assume Action_C returns RUNNING. The retick-ing of Action_A is what makes PipelineSequence useful.


  1. All actions in the sequence will be re-ticked. Let’s assume Action_A still returns RUNNING, where as Action_B returns SUCCESS again, and Action_C now returns SUCCESS on this tick. The sequence is now complete, and therefore Action_A is halted, even though it was still RUNNING.


Recall that if Action_A, Action_B, or Action_C returned FAILURE at any point of time, the parent would have returned FAILURE and halted any children as well.

For additional details regarding the PipelineSequence please see the PipelineSequence configuration guide.

Control: Recovery

The Recovery control node has only two children and returns SUCCESS if and only if the first child returns SUCCESS. If the first child returns FAILURE, the second child will be ticked. This loop will continue until either:

  • The first child returns SUCCESS (which results in SUCCESS of the parent node)

  • The second child returns FAILURE (which results in FAILURE of the parent node)

  • The number_of_retries input parameter is violated

This node is usually used to link together an action, and a recovery action as the name suggests. The first action will typically be the “main” behavior, and the second action will be something to be done in case of FAILURE of the main behavior. Often, the ticking of the second child action will promote the chance the first action will succeed.


<root main_tree_to_execute="MainTree">
    <BehaviorTree ID="MainTree">
        <RecoveryNode number_of_retries="1">

In the above example, let’s assume ComputePathToPose fails. ClearLocalCostmap will be ticked in response, and return SUCCESS. Now that we have cleared the costmap, let’s say the robot is correctly able to compute the path and ComputePathToPose now returns SUCCESS. Then, the parent RecoveryNode will also return SUCCESS and the BT will be complete.

For additional details regarding the RecoveryNode please see the RecoveryNode configuration guide.

Control: RoundRobin

The RoundRobin control node ticks its children in a round robin fashion until a child returns SUCCESS, in which the parent node will also return SUCCESS. If all children return FAILURE so will the parent RoundRobin.

Here is an example BT we will use to walk through the concept.


<root main_tree_to_execute="MainTree">
    <BehaviorTree ID="MainTree">
  1. All the nodes start at IDLE


2. Upon tick of the parent node, the first child (Action_A) is ticked. Let’s assume on tick the child returns RUNNING. In this case, no other children are ticked and the parent node returns RUNNING as well.


3. Upon the next tick, let’s assume that Action_A returns FAILURE. This means that Action_B will get ticked next, and Action_C remains unticked. Let’s assume Action_B returns RUNNING this time. That means the parent RoundRobin node will also return RUNNING.


4. Upon this next tick, let’s assume that Action_B returns SUCCESS. The parent RoundRobin will now halt all children and return SUCCESS. The parent node retains this state information, and will tick Action_C upon the next tick rather than start from Action_A like Step 2 did.


  1. On this tick, let’s assume Action_C returns RUNNING, and so does the parent RoundRobin. No other nodes are ticked.


  1. On this last tick, let’s assume Action_C returns FAILURE. The parent will circle and tick Action_A again. Action_A returns RUNNING and so will the parent RoundRobin node. This pattern will continue indefinitely unless all children return FAILURE.


For additional details regarding the RecoveryNode please see the RoundRobin configuration guide.